Aug. 8, 1996

From Blossoms

by Li-Young Lee


Today's Reading:"From Blossoms" by Li-Young Lee from ROSE, published by Boa Editions, Ltd.

The Iowa State Fair opens today in Des Moines, celebrating the state's 150th anniversary.

The 96th National Hobo Convention starts today in Britt, Iowa.

The Scandinavian Festival starts today in Junction City, Oregon.

It was on this day in 1974 that President Richard Milhouse Nixon announced in a television address to the nation that he would resign from the presidency the following day.

Journalist Randy Shilts (AND THE BAND PLAYED ON) was born on this day in Davenport, Iowa, in 1951. He was one of the first reporters to recognize the significance of the AIDS epidemic and to begin reporting on it. He developed AIDS and died in 1992.

It's the birthday of mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in Colchester, England,1931, who along with Stephen Hawking proved that all matter in a black hole collapses into a "singularity," a point in space where mass is compressed to infinite density and zero volume.

It was on this day in 1930 that Edmund Wilson advised F. Scott Fitzgerald that as "hard as America can be to live in, it is a mistake for American writers to live abroad."

Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon ("Ain't Nobody's Business") was born today in Gurdon, Arkansas, in 1923.

Jazz saxophonist Benny Carter was born on this day in New York City in 1907.

It's the birthday of physicist Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron, a particle accelerator, was born in Canton, South Dakota, in 1901.

Poet Sara Teasdale was born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1884.

It's the birthday of America's first professional architect, Charles Bulfinch, born in Boston in 1763. He redesigned the U.S. Capitol in Washington and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show