Friday

Nov. 1, 2002

Here and There

by Stephen Dunn

FRIDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2002
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Poem: "Here and There," by Stephen Dunn from New and Selected Poems (W.W. Norton).

Here and There

Here and there nightfall
without fanfare
presses down, utterly
expected, not an omen in sight.
Here and there a husband
at the usual time
goes to bed with his wife
and doesn't dream of other women.
Occasionally a terrible sigh
is heard, the kind that is
theatrical, to be ignored.
Or a car backfires
and reminds us of a car
backfiring, not of a gunshot.
Here and there a man says
what he means and people hear him
and are not confused.
Here and there a missing teenage girl
comes home unscarred.
Sometimes dawn just brings another
day, full of minor
pleasures and small complaints.
And when the newspaper arrives
with the world,
people make kindling of it
and sit together while it burns.


Today is All Saints Day. Historically, this day commemorated all the saints and martyrs.

It was on this day in 1967 that the first issue of Rolling Stone hit newsstands. The magazine started in San Francisco and embraced the counterculture during the early 1960s and 1970s. The editor and founder, Jann Wenner said that the key to Rolling Stone's continued success was "Change -- the ability to see it and live with it."

It was on this day in 1604 that Shakespeare's Othello was performed for the first time. Also on this day in 1611, his play The Tempest was performed for the first time.

It's the birthday of Lee Smith, born in Grundy, Virginia (1944). She wrote Fancy Strut (1973), Black Mountain Breakdown (1981), The Devil's Dream (1992), and The Last Girls (2002). As a child, she spent time in her father's store, watching customers through a peep hole in the ceiling. She would study their interactions and voices, which she would later use in her stories. She said, "I discovered a down-home narrative voice that would allow me to write about these people without writing down to them."

It's the birthday of playwright A(lbert) R(amsdell) Gurney, Jr., born in Buffalo, New York (1930). He joined the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, and got his start in writing by creating entertaining sketches to entertain his fellow troops. He produced many plays including The Cocktail Hour and Love Letters.

It's the birthday of the man who coined the phrase, "It isn't whether you win or lose, but how you played the game" sportswriter Grantland Rice, born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1880.

It's the birthday of Yiddish novelist and playwright Sholem Asch, born in Poland in 1880. He lived back and forth between the United States and Europe for most of his life, but eventually settled in Israel in 1956. He said: "Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence."

It's the birthday of the novelist Stephen Crane, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1871. He was just twenty-two when he wrote his first novel, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893) and just twenty-four when he wrote his famous book The Red Badge of Courage (1895).



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

 









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