Nov. 25, 2000


by Kay Ryan

Broadcast date: SATURDAY, 25 November 2000

Poem: ďPatience,Ē by Kay Ryan, from Say Uncle (Grove Press).

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time's fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn't be
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

Itís the birthday of poet, novelist and critic Robert Welch, born in Cork, Ireland (1947). Welch is the author of Secret Societies (1997), a book of poems; Groundwork (1997), a novel; The Abbey Theatre, 1899-1999 (2000), a history of Dublinís great national theater; and is the editor of The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature (1996).

Itís the birthday of English playwright and short story writer Shelagh Delaney, born in Salford, Lancashire (1939). She wrote her first play, A Taste of Honey (1958), at the age of nineteen.

Itís the birthday of American composer Virgil Thomson, born in Kansas City, Missouri (1896). He studied music at Harvard, and then went to Paris to study with the great teacher Nadia Boulanger. It was there that he met Gertrude Stein, who wrote the librettos for two of Thomsonís most famous works: the operas Four Saints in Three Acts (1934), and The Mother of Us All (1947), based on the life of Susan B. Anthony.

Itís the birthday of novelist Helen Hooven Santmyer, born in Cincinnati, Ohio (1895). At the age of 87 she came out with her best selling novel ...And Ladies of the Club.

Itís the birthday of American naturalist and writer Joseph Wood Krutch, born in Knoxville, Tennessee (1893). While working on a biography of Henry David Thoreau (published in 1948), he became interested in natural history and he turned to nature writing. After moving to Arizona in 1950, he wrote The Desert Year, The Voice of the Desert, The Grand Canyon, and The Forgotten Peninsula (about Baja California).

Itís the birthday of temperance reformer Carry Nation, born in Garrard County, Kentucky (1846). She became known across the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s for her personal war against liquor traffic. In 1892, she founded a chapter of the Womenís Christian Temperance Union in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Several years later, when it became clear that more radical methods were needed, she stormed into a local saloon singing temperance hymns and calling down the wrath of God. Soon she was traveling throughout Kansas, smashing up bars with her trademark hatchet. After the turn of the century, she turned to the Eastern lecture circuit to spread her temperance message, and made money on the side by selling miniature souvenir hatchets.

Itís the birthday of Scottish-born American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, born in Fife, Scotland (1835). Carnegie immigrated to western Pennsylvania with his family when he was twelve years old, and quickly found his first job as a bobbin boy in a local cotton factory. He rose quickly in the business world: before he was 40, he had founded what would become the Carnegie Steel Company, which, through shrewd management and technological innovation, came to dominate the steel industry in the late 19th century. In 1900, Carnegie sold his company to J.P. Morganís United States Steel Corporation for 250 million dollars. He spent the rest of his life giving away his vast wealth, and by the time he died, he had given away about 350 million dollars. Among other things, he endowed the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Hall, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and 2,509 public libraries.

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  • “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
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