Sep. 10, 1996

Roses, Late Summer

by Mary Oliver


Today's Reading: "Roses, Late Summer" by Mary Oliver from HOUSE OF LIGHT, published by Beacon Press.

It's the birthday of science writer and biologist Stephen Jay Gould in New York City, 1941. He co-developed the theory of punctuated equilibria, stating that species evolve in rapid bursts over periods as short as a thousand years.

Journalist Charles Kuralt was born today in Wilmington, North Carolina, 1934.

Baseball player Roger Maris was born today in Hibbing, Minnesota, 1934. His one-time season total of 61 home runs in 1961 was the highest ever in the major leagues.

It's the birthday of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver, born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1935.

English writer and critic Cyril Connolly was born today in Coventry, England, in 1903.

Austrian writer Franz Werfel was born today in Prague in 1890.

It's the birthday of poet Hilda Doolittle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1886.

It was on this day in 1846 that Elias Howe was awarded a patent for a new eye-pointed needle sewing machine.

Today in 1813 the American fleet defeated the British at the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812.

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