May 26, 2000

A Poem With My Mother In It

by Joyce Sutphen

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: May 26, 2000

Poems: "A Poem with My Mother in It," by Joyce Sutphen, from Coming Back to the Body, forthcoming September 2000 from Holy Cow Press.

Itís the birthday of poet MICHAEL BENEDIKT, born in New York City (1935). He's the author of five collections of poetry, including The Badminton at Great Barrington; or Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo Choo (1980). He's also one of the first poets to publish extensively on the Internet.

Itís the birthday of actor JOHN WAYNE, (Marion Michael Morrison), born in the small town of Winterset, Iowa (1907), a hero of the American Western film. His nickname was "the Duke", and although he cut an imposing figure at six feet four inches, his screen persona was really the invention of an insecure actor. "When I started," he said, "I knew I was no actor and I went to work on this Wayne thing. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint and a way of moving. I practiced in front of a mirror."

On this day in 1897, the first copies of Abraham Stokerís novel DRACULA arrived in London bookstores. Selling for six shillings, the novel was one of eleven that Stoker published the supermarket paperbacks of their day. Although there had been many other vampire stories before his, Stoker invented the fear of garlic, the vampire's lack of reflection in a mirror, and the legend that a stake must be driven through the vampire's heart in order to kill him.

Itís the birthday of photographer DOROTHEA LANGE, born in Hoboken, New Jersey (1895). At 20, she set out to travel around the world, but ran out of money in San Francisco, and opened a portrait studio instead. Her 1930s-era photographs of ordinary people had a profound effect on later documentary photographers, and she was hired by the Farm Security Administration to bring the conditions of the poor to public attention. One photograph in particular, entitled Migrant Mother, became synonymous with the Great Depression.

Itís the birthday of poet MAXWELL BODENHEIM, born Maxwell Bodenheimer in Hermanville, Mississippi (1893). A self-educated man, he became known as The Bard Of Greenwich Village in the late 1920s, when the area was a kind of literary bohemia. He fell on hard times, however, and was reduced to selling his poems in bars. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, he and his mistress befriended a twenty-five year old man and invited him to share their room on Third Avenue, where he murdered them both in 1954.

On this day in 1868, President ANDREW JOHNSON was acquitted by a single vote of impeachment charges in the U.S. Senate.

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