Oct. 14, 2000

Since feeling is first

by E. E. Cummings

Broadcast date: SATURDAY, 14 October 2000

Poem: "since feeling is first," by e.e. cummings, from Complete Poems (Liveright Press).

Today is the first day of Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles, a nine day festival in which the Jewish people commemorate their ancestors' 40 years of wandering in the desert, and give thanks for the fall harvest.

It's the birthday of poet and essayist Katha Pollitt, born in New York City in 1949. Pollitt began publishing her poetry in The New Yorker when she was in her 20's. In 1982, she released a widely praised poetry collection called Antarctic Traveler.

On this day in 1930, Ethel Merman made her Broadway debut in the George Gershwin musical Girl Crazy. The show introduced audiences to such classic Gershwin songs as "I've Got Rhythm" and "Embraceable You."

It's the anniversary of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, first published by Methuen and Company of London, on this date in 1926.

It's the birthday of American poet e. e. [Edward Estlin] cummings, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894). As a student of at Harvard, he noticed that Greek and Latin texts never begin sentences with a capital letter, and from then on began using the lowercase exclusively in his poetry.

It's the birthday of Dwight David Eisenhower, born in Denison, Texas in 1890. He was the commander of U.S. troops in Europe, and the 34th President of the United States.

It's the birthday of short story writer Katherine Mansfield, born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1888. She established her reputation as a master of the short story with her 1922 collection, The Garden Party. Virginia Woolf often said that Mansfield was the only writer whose style made her jealous.

It's the birthday of Russian novelist and poet, Boris Bugayev who wrote under the name Andrey Biely, born in Moscow in 1880. He's best known for his novel St. Petersburg (1913), a novel set in the revolutionary Russia of 1905. Nabokov called it, "one of the four great masterpieces of 20th-century prose."

It's the birthday of William Penn, born in London, England, in 1644, the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania.

It's the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, fought in 1066 between William the Conqueror of Normandy, and Harold II of England. William had been promised the throne of England by his cousin, King Edward the Confessor, but on his deathbed Edward changed his mind, and instead, granted the kingdom to Harold, the earl of Wessex. That September, William crossed the English Channel to assert his claim to the throne. Although the armies were fairly evenly matched in numbers, William possessed archers and cavalry, while Harold commanded only infantrymen armed with double-handled battle-axes. William also possessed superior tactical skill. By pretending to retreat, he drew the English from their positions and cut them down with his archers. William then advanced to London, where he was crowned king on December 25.

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




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