Monday

Oct. 30, 2000

279 Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,

by Emily Dickinson

Broadcast date: MONDAY, 30 October 2000

Then I Am Ready To Go
by Emily Dickinson

Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,
Then, I am ready to go!
Just a look at the Horses—
Rapid! That will do!

Put me in on the firmest side—
So I shall never fall—
For we must ride to the Judgment—
And itís partly, down Hill—

But never I mind the steepest—
And never I mind the Sea—
Held fast in Everlasting Race—
By my own Choice, and Thee—

Goodbye to the Life I used to live—
And the World I used to know—
And kiss the Hills, for me, just once—
Then—I am ready to go!

It is the birthday of the poet and dramatist, Miguel Hernandez, in Oriheula, in the province of Alicante, in Spain (1910). When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, he joined in defense of the Loyalist side. He was arrested and imprisoned three time, living under Franco's wretched penal conditions, until he died of untreated tuberculosis at 31.

It is the birthday of poet and critic, Ezra Loomis Pound, born in Hailey, Idaho (1885). He was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 1901 at only 15. When he was 23, with very little money, Pound shipped out to Europe as a deck hand on a cattle boat, and only returned to the United States three times during his lifetime. In London he met Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, and William Butler Yeats.

He encouraged poets to write modern verse, encouraged editors to publish it, and encouraged readers to read it. He helped James Joyce get Ulysses printed serially in "The Little Review," for which Joyce said, "We all owe a great deal to him. But I, most of all, surely." Pound published his own poetry, as well, shaping the Imagist movement, with its direct and sparse language, and precise images. He used the phrase "make it new!"

Today is the birthday of American author Irma Rombauer, born in St. Louis, Missouri (1877), who staked her own money to publish the first edition of "The Joy of Cooking" (1931), because the depression was causing more people to cook and eat at home. She said, "Nothing stimulates the cook's imagination like an egg."

Today is the birthday of author Gertrude Franklin Atherton, born in San Francisco (1857), who introduced the world to the biographical novel with her book The Conqueror, a novelized life of Alexander Hamilton.

Today is the birthday of dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan, born in Dublin (1751). When he was a small child his parents moved to London. He was enormously successful as a playwright, producing The Rivals (1775), The School for Scandal (1777), and The Critic (1779). He was also a member of Parliament for more than 30 years. Perhaps his most memorable character is Mrs. Malaprop, from School for Scandal, known for her hilarious mangling of the English language:

"Sure, if I reprehend anything in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs."

It's the birthday of John Adams, born in Braintree, Massachusetts (1735). He was a delegate to the first Continental Congress, and was the "ablest advocate and defender" of the Declaration of Independence. His was one of the original signatures on that document. He won the vice presidential race in 1789 under George Washington.

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 »