Aug. 1, 2000

From the Wave

by Thom Gunn

Broadcast date: TUESDAY, 1 August 2000

"From the Wave," by Thom Gunn, from Selected Poems 1950-1975 (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux).

It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Madison Smartt Bell, born in Nashville, 1957. He wrote All Soul's Rising (1996), about a slave revolt in Haiti.

It's the birthday of writer Amy Friedman, born in 1952, Cleveland. After college in New York City, she helped direct Hollywood films, then moved to rural Ontario, where she began a column for the Kingston Whig-Standard, took over a sheep farm and started her novels. She is the author of Kick the Dog and Shoot the Cat, and Bogart's Eyes.

It's the birthday in Brooklyn, 1940, of poet Hugh Seidman.

It's the birthday in Wilmington, Delaware, 1937 of poet Walter Griffin.

It's the birthday in New York, 1819, of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick and Billy Budd. He shipped out as a cabin boy to support the family after his father died, and put his sea-faring experiences into his first two novels, Typee and Omoo. Melville wrote nearly one sea-novel a year, almost all of which failed. Moby Dick came out in 1851 when Melville was 32 years old. Not until the 1920s, 30 years after Melville's death, did it get any recognition.

It's the birthday in 1770, Caroline County, Virginia, of William Clark. Early in the 19th century, along with Meriwether Lewis, he explored the vast, uncharted territory west of the Mississippi. The Lewis and Clark expedition set out from St. Louis in May of 1804. On his 35th birthday, August 1, 1805, Clark met a group of Indians not far from the Continental Divide. He wrote in his journal: "The Main Chief immediately tied to my hair Six Small pieces of Shells resembling pearl. He is a man of Influence, Sense & easy & reserved manners...Even though they are half-starved, living on berries & roots which they gather in the plains, those people are not beggarly but generous, and only one has asked me for anything."

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




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