Sunday

Jul. 30, 2000

Condemned Man's Last Supper, The

by Gerald Locklin

Broadcast date: SUNDAY, 30 July 2000

Poem:
"The Condemned Man's Last Supper," by Gerald Locklin, from The Iceberg Theory and Other Poems (Lummox Press).

It's the birthday of film director Peter Bogdanovich, born in Kingston, New York (1939). He wrote 3 books on his favorite auteur filmmakers-The Cinema of Orson Welles (1961), The Cinema of Howard Hawks (1962), and The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock (1963) before making his own first pictures: Targets, starring Boris Karloff, and The Last Picture Show (1971).

In 1935 on this date, the first modern paperbacks went on sale, published by Penguin Books, in Britain. The publisher, a man named Allen Lane, had the brilliant idea of using large print runs to keep the price down, so he could put out classic books at about sixpence apiece. The first Penguin title was Ariel, a biography of Shelley by André Maurois.

It's the birthday of novelist William H(oward) Gass, born in Fargo, North Dakota (1924), author of Omensetter's Luck (1966), and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country (1968).

American poet Joyce Kilmer was killed in action on this day in 1918, near the French town of Seringes. He was 31 years old. He's best known for his poem, "Trees," which begins:

I think that I will never see
A poem lovely as a tree

It's the birthday of historian C(yril) Northcote Parkinson, born in Barnard Castle, Durham, England (1909). He gave us Parkinson's First Law: "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion." This dictum, after appearing in The Economist magazine (1955), was so widely repeated that he expanded his article into a book published 3 years later as Parkinson's Law, or The Pursuit of Progress (1958), which includes his Second Law: "Expenditure rises to meet income."

A committee, according to Parkinson, "grows organically, flourishes and blossoms, sunlit on top and shady beneath, until it dies, scattering the seeds from which other committees will spring."

It's the birthday of sculptor Henry Moore, born in Castleford, Yorkshire (1898). His father was a coal miner, and his mother, he later recalled, would "work from morning till night till she was over 70. To be a sculptor, you have to have that sort of energy and that sort of stamina." As a boy he was often asked to rub his mother's back to soothe her rheumatism; 50 years later, working on the large figure of a seated woman, he found himself, in his words, "unconsciously giving to its back the long-forgotten shape of the one I had so often rubbed as a boy." In his 88 years, he produced a great number of organically shaped abstract figures in bronze and stone. He said, "I can see a reclining figure in anything-a smudge on the wall, an ink blot, a pebble."

It's the birthday of novelist Emily (Jane) Brontë, born in Thornton, Yorkshire (1818), who wrote Wuthering Heights (1847).

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 »