Saturday

Jun. 3, 2000

Marriage Morning

by Alfred Tennyson

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: June 3, 2000

Poem: "Marriage Morning," by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892).

It's Larry McMurtry’s birthday, born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1936. He’s the author of books set in hard-scrabble Texas towns: The Last Picture Show (1966), Terms of Endearment (1975); and Lonesome Dove (1985), about the adventures of Gus, Call, and Jake driving 2,000 head of cattle up to Montana, the book that won McMurtry the 1986 Pulitzer Prize. He said, "Because of when and where I grew up, on the Great Plains just as the herding tradition was beginning to lose its vitality, I have been interested all my life in vanishing breeds."

It's the birthday in Newark, New Jersey, 1926, of poet Allen Ginsberg, who in the 1940s fell in with Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, and formed the nucleus of the Beat writers "Beat" short for "beatific," a term given them by Kerouac. He moved to San Francisco and began work on his poem, "Howl," published in 1956; "Kaddish" followed a few years later. He admitted that his best-known pieces were written while on drugs: "Howl" with peyote, "Kaddish" with amphetamines. Ginsberg later maintained that meditation and yoga were far superior to drugs to raise one's consciousness. Shortly before he died, three years ago, he said he wanted to be remembered as a poet "in the tradition of the old-time American transcendentalist individualism. . . Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman . . . just carrying it on into the 20th century."

On June 3, 1880, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first wireless telephone message on his newly invented photophone. The photophone was like a telephone but it used light instead of electricity to transmit sound. Bell thought this was his greatest invention, far more important than his others, the telephone, telegraph, or phonograph. The problem with it, though, was that a simple thing like a cloudy day killed the line, and it wasn't until fiber-optic communications came along some 90 years later that Bell's invention was fully realized.

It's the birthday of William Hone in Bath, England 1780, the journalist and political reformer, famous in his day for the first exposés of British insane asylums, and for his battles to win writers freedom of speech. Hone was charged with sedition for writing The Political House That Jack Built (1819), and in a landmark case centering on free speech, won his own acquittal, which made him a hero for writers across England.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Sharon Olds at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »