Jun. 28, 2000

Cobweb, The

by Raymond Carver

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: June 28, 2000

Poem: "The Cobweb," by Raymond Carver from Ultramarine (Grove/Atlantic).

Itís the birthday of poet and novelist Jane Ransom, born in Boulder, Colorado (1958), author of Without Asking (1989), which includes 8 poems written for her mother as she lay dying from inoperable cancer; and the novel Bye-Bye (1997).

Itís the birthday of storywriter and novelist Mark Helprin, born in Ossining, New York (1947), author of Winterís Tale (1983) and other books.

Itís the birthday of comedian, actor and director Mel Brooks (Melvyn Kaminsky), born in Brooklyn (1926).

On this day, in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by Germany and Allied nations, ending World War One.

Itís the birthday of English suspense writer Eric Ambler, born in London (1909) who wrote the first realistic stories about intelligence operations.

Itís the birthday of composer Richard (Charles) Rodgers, born in New York City (1902). While studying at Columbia University, he met lyricist Lorenz Hart; they forged a Broadway partnership that lasted 20 years and produced such hit songs as "My Funny Valentine," "Manhattan," "Blue Moon," "The Lady Is a Tramp," and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered." After Hartís death in 1943, Rodgers teamed up with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II; together they formed the best known song-writing team in the history of the American musical. Their first collaboration was the Pulitzer Prize winning Oklahoma! (1943).

Itís the birthday of Italian writer Luigi Pirandello, born in Agirgenti, Sicily, in (1867). Among the 20th centuryís most influential playwrights, he revolutionized theater by experimenting with dramatic structure. His most famous play was Six Characters in Search of an Author, in which six people interrupt the rehearsal of another Pirandello play to demand that their stories be acted out—an approach that startled audiences and critics, and began modernist drama. Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1934).

Itís the birthday of Henry the 8th, King of England, born in Greenwich, near London (1491). Henry stood six feet tall and was powerfully built—a tireless athlete, huntsman and dancer. He presided over the start of the English Reformation, which stemmed from his own matrimonial problems. He had been persuaded to marry his dead brotherís widow, Catherine of Aragon, in order to keep her political connections; she bore him a daughter, Mary. Lacking a son, Henry asked the Pope to annul his marriage to Catherine, but was refused—so Henry himself declared it invalid. He made himself head of the Church of England and married his pregnant mistress, Anne Boleyn—whose child, when born, was another girl: Elizabeth. Enraged, Henry had Boleyn beheaded for alleged infidelity. So it went, through 4 more wives, another of which he had executed, and another of whom he divorced. He was survived by his 6th wife, Catherine Parr.

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