Saturday

Jun. 9, 2001

1398 I have no Life but this --

by Emily Dickinson

Hard Road Blues

by Anonymous

SATURDAY, 9 JUNE 2001
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poems: "I have no Life but this," by Emily Dickinson and "Hard Road Blues," by Anonymous.

'I have no Life but this'

I have no Life but this—
To lead it here—
Nor any Death—but lest
Dispelled from there—

Nor tie to Earths to come—
Nor Action new—
Except through this extent—
The Realm of you—

 

Hard Road Blues

Keep on walkin and walkin   talkin to mysel
yes keep on walkin and walkin   talkin to mysel
gal I loves wid somebody else

I got the hard road blues   walkin down the
    line
oh yes got the hard road blues   walkin on down
    the line
maybe someday my gal will change her mind

its a hard hard road when your baby done
    throwed you down
a hard hard road when your baby done throwed
    you down
gonna keep on walkin from town to town

I'm gonna find my baby   don't think she can't
    be found
gonna find my baby   don't think she can't be
    found
gonna walk this hard road till my mustache
    touch the ground

It's the birthday of mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, born in Miami, Florida, in 1956. She wrote three novels featuring male detectives, which were rejected, and then she created a female character, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner who tracks down deranged killers based on their manner of mangling their victims. Her first Kay Scarpetta book was Postmortem in 1990, followed by Cruel and Unusual and Cause of Death.

It's the birthday of Les Paul, guitarist and inventor, born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 1915. He took a phonograph needle and used it to amplify his acoustic guitar; he wired it up to a radio speaker. He later devised the first solid-body electric guitar, and engineered such innovations as overdubbing, the close-mike technique, the record delay echo, and many other tricks now taken for granted in recording studios.

It's the birthday of cartoonist George Price, born in Coytesville, New Jersey, in 1901. Price drew over 1,200 cartoons for The New Yorker magazine. His scenes frequently featured dangling bare light bulbs and scrawny pets, scratching away at themselves in the corner.

It's the birthday of playwright and biographer S.N. Behrman, Samuel Nathaniel Behrman, born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1893. He wrote plays, comedies, about a particular strain of upper-class Americans. His were comedies of manners, including The Second Man, Brief Moment, Lord Pengo, and No Time for Comedy.

It's the birthday of Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891. He learned to play the piano at the age of eight, went off to Yale University where he composed football songs, and then wrote musicals where he wrote both the words and the music. His 1934 show Anything Goes, considered by many to be his finest, included the songs "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Anything Goes," "All Through the Night," and "You're the Top."

It's the birthday of Austrian novelist and pacifist Baroness Bertha von Suttner, born in Prague in 1843. Her 1889 novel Die Waffen nieder! ("Lay Down Your Arms!"), was hugely popular in Europe, and had an impact there similar to what Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had in America.

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 Sharon Olds 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 »