Thursday

Feb. 15, 2001

709 Publication -- is the Auction

by Emily Dickinson

THURSDAY, 15 February 2001
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Publication—is the Auction Of the Mind of Man" by Emily Dickinson.

Publication—is the Auction
Of the Mind of Man—
Poverty—be justifying
For so foul a thing

Possibly—but We—would rather
From Our Garrett go
White—Unto the White Creator—
Than invest—our snow—

Thought belong to Him who gave it—
Then—to Him Who bear
Its Corporeal illustration—Sell
The Royal Air—

In the Parcel—Be the Merchant
Of the Heavenly Grace—
But reduce no Human Spirit
To Disgrace of Price—

It's the birthday of cartoonist Matt Groening, born in Portland, Oregon (1954). Inspired by his cartoonist father, he grew up drawing. He spent his college years at Evergreen State University, in Olympia, Washington, then moved to Los Angeles where he developed a comic strip he called "Life in Hell" (1980). Within a year, the strip was syndicated in 20 newspapers. In 1987 he created an animated family he named "The Simpsons" for the Fox network's The Tracy Ullman Show.

It's the birthday of American composer and pianist Harold Arlen, born Hyman Arluck, in Buffalo (1905), the son of a musician. In the mid-1920s he met lyricist Ted Koehler; together they collaborated on such tunes as "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "I've Got the World on A String." Among his many Broadway and Hollywood songs are "It's Only A Paper Moon," "That Old Black Magic," and "Over the Rainbow."

It's the birthday of American reformer Susan B. Anthony, born in Adams, Massachusetts (1820). She was a schoolteacher and liberal Quaker who opposed slavery and favored 'temperance.' She campaigned all her life for women's rights, including the right to vote. In 1869 she organized the National Woman Suffrage Association with her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton. At 80 she retired as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, but remained an advocate and public speaker until her death in 1906.

It's the birthday of John Sutter, born Johann August Suter, in Kandern, Germany (1803). He came over to California, got 49,000 acres of land from Mexico, and built a saw mill, Sutter's Fort (1841), where gold was discovered in 1848. It was the beginning of the Gold Rush of 1849.

It's the birthday of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei , born in Pisa (1564). He devised a simple open-air thermometer (1607), but his greatest breakthrough was to improve the refracting telescope (1609). It made possible his confirmation of the theory of Copernicus, who insisted that Aristotle was wrong: it's not the Earth that's the center of things, but the Sun. Galileo's books were banned, and he was summoned to Rome to be tried for heresy. In 1633 he was convicted, sentenced to house arrest for life, and his books were ordered burned. He was forced either to renounce all his Copernican beliefs or be tortured on the rack. While signing his declaration that the earth was stationary, he muttered, "And yet… it moves." Confined to his home, he continued to study physics and astronomy, until, in his seventies, he grew completely blind.

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 »