Jun. 5, 2000

Sometimes With One I Love

by Walt Whitman

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: June 5, 2000

Poem: "Sometimes With the One I Love," by Walt Whitman.

It's the birthday of playwright David Hare, born in St. Leonards, Sussex, England (1947). He's the author of Racing Demon (1990, about conflicts within the Church of England); Murmuring Judges (1991, about policemen, lawyers, and prison governors); and The Absence of War (1993, about the Labor Party). His most recent play to appear in New York was Amy's View (last year, starring Judy Dench). He said,

"When people are confronted with a real work of art, then they discover that they don't believe what they thought they believed all along. In a way, the great art, the great subversive art, is art that makes you realize that you don't think what you thought you did."

It's the birthday of novelist Margaret Drabble, born in Sheffield, England (1939), the daughter of a judge and the sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She's the author of A Summer Bird-Cage (1962), The Garrick Year (1964), and The Millstone (1965) and The Witch of Exmoor (1996).

It's the birthday of journalist Bill Moyers, born in Hugo, Oklahoma (1934). He grew up in Marshall, Texas, in a blue collar family. Moyers says the town "was a wonderful place to be poor if you had to be poor. It was a genteel poverty, in which people knew who you were and kind of looked after you. Status was important in Marshall, but more important was being part of the community." Moyers served as President Lyndon Johnson's chief of staff, then as his press secretary. In 1967 he quit to run the Newsday newspaper for 3 years. Then he bought a tape recorder and traveled 13,000 miles across the country, conducting interviews he put together his best-selling book, Listening to America: A Traveler Rediscovers His Country (1971). Later projects involved TV interviews (mostly on public TV), that then came out as books.

On this day in 1900, novelist Stephen Crane died in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Germany, 28 years old—of TB, but complicated by the malaria he had caught while covering the Spanish-American War in Cuba, and further complicated by overwork, trying to support his family through writing.

It's the birthday of Federico Garcia Lorca, born in Fuente Vaqueros, Spain (1898)known for his poetry, and his trilogy of plays: Blood Wedding (1933), Yerma (1934), and The House of Bernarda Alba (1936). He was admired for his poetry, but resisted publishing it, saying, "Verse is meant to be recited. In a book it is dead." Originally passed along by word of mouth, his poems would be published as Songs (1927) and The Gypsy Ballads (1928). He was assassinated by Franco's fascists at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936), 2 months after turning 38.

It's the birthday of anthropologist Ruth Benedict, born in New York City (1887), author of Patterns of Culture (1934) and Zuni Mythology (1935).

On this day in 1851, the first installment of Uncle Tom's Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly, came out in the journal The National Era. It was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who had been outraged by passage of the Fugitive Slave Law (1850). When the full-length version of Uncle Tom's Cabin came out (1852), it was a sensation, selling 300,000 copies its first year. It did as much as any single book to lead to the civil war.

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