Oct. 16, 1996

Down by the Salley Gardens

by William Butler Yeats


Today's Reading:"Down by the Salley Gardens" by W. B. Yeats.

It's the birthday of novelist, poet, and sculptor Gunter Grass, born in Danzig, Germany, in 1927. His book, THE TIN DRUM, was one of the first German novels to deal with the generation that grew up during the Nazi era.

The first U. S. birth control clinic was opened on this day in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York, by a group led by Margaret Sanger.

Former U. S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was born on this day in Maine, Minnesota, 1898.

Playwright Eugene O'Neill (LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT) was born on this day in New York City in 1888.

It's the birthday of David Ben-Gurion, considered the father of modern Israel and the nation's first premier. He was born in Plonsk, Poland, in 1886.

On this day in 1859, abolitionist John Brown and 21 of his followers seized the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and took 60 locals hostage, hoping that slaves in the area would revolt.

It's the birthday in Dublin, Ireland, of poet, dramatist Oscar Wilde, 1854. In LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN he wrote: "We are all in the gutter; but some of us are looking at the stars."

It was on this day in 1846 that ether was first used as an anesthetic, by dentist William T. G. Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The earliest known surviving photograph was taken on this day in 1839 by Joseph Saxton with his home-made camera.

The dethroned French queen, Marie Antionette, was executed by guillotine in Paris on this day in 1793.

Lexicographer Noah Webster was born on this day in West Hartford, Connecticut, 1758.

Yale University was founded on this day in 1701 by Congregationalists who were upset with Harvard's growing liberalism.

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