Monday

Jul. 17, 2000

Farming In a Lilac Shirt

by Leo Dangel

Broadcast date: MONDAY, 17 July 2000

Poem:
"Farming In a Lilac Shirt," by Leo Dangel, from Home From the Field (Spoon River Poetry Press).

It's the birthday of Israeli novelist and short-story writer S.Y. Agnon, born Samuel Josef Czackes in the small town of Buczacz, in the Ukraine (1888). He became an active Zionist while still a teenager, immigrating to Israel when he was 20 and publishing his first novel, Forsaken Wives, the next year. His first major work, A Guest for the Night, was published in 1938. His greatest work, The Day Before Yesterday (1945), deals with the problems westernized Jews faced in Israel. In his later years, he was regarded as a national institution in Israel, and when construction caused a disturbance in his neighborhood, Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek ordered a sign put up near Agnon's house reading: "Quiet. Agnon is writing." Agnon received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966.

It's the birthday of lawyer and mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner, born in Malden, Massachusetts (1889), best known as the creator of Perry Mason, the lawyer/detective who first appeared in The Case Of The Velvet Claws (1933). He wrote four thousand words a day, a new novel every six weeks. Even when he was in his 80's, he still churned out four or five volumes a year.

It's the birthday of journalist Erwin Knoll, born in Vienna, Austria (1931). For 21 years he was editor of the left-wing magazine The Progressive.

It's the birthday of American composer and humorist Peter Schickele, born in Ames, Iowa (1935). While a student at Juliard, he created the character P.D.Q. Bach, for whom he composed many works, including the Howdy Symphony, and Royal Firewater Music.

On this day in 1993, three fragments of the comet S-L9 hit Jupiter--each fragment larger than the planet Earth.

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 Jeffrey Harrison 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 »