Apr. 30, 1997

Piazza Piece

by John Crowe Ransom


Today's Reading:"Piazza Piece" by John Crowe Ransom from SELECTED POEMS, published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Tonight is Walpurgisnacht, the eve before St. Walpurga's day, for the English missionary and abbess who lived during the 6th century. Originally a pagan festival, Walpurgisnacht is now celebrated mainly in Scandinavia as a way to welcome spring.

It was on this day in 1975 that North Vietnamese forces occupied Saigon, bringing to an end the Vietnam War after nearly 20 years.

It's the birthday of New Zealand film director Jane Campion (AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE; THE PIANO; A PORTRAIT OF A LADY), born in Wellington on this day in 1954.

It's the birthday of writer Annie Dillard, born in Pittsburgh in 1945. The journal she kept while living in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains became the basis of her Pulitzer Prize-winning book PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK (1974).

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, in 1933. His song "Crazy," sung by Patsy Cline, became a big hit in 1961.

It's the birthday of actress Eunice Quedens, in Mill Valley, California, 1912. She took her stage name from the cosmetic jars on her dressing table, Evening in Paris and Elizabeth Arden, and came to be known as Eve Arden.

Poet and critic John Crowe Ransom, a leader of the literary group known as the Fugitives, was born on this day in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1888.

It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Jaroslav Hasek (THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK), born in Prague on this day in 1883.

Writer Alice B. Toklas, lifelong companion and collaborator of Gertrude Stein, was born on this day in San Francisco, in 1877.

It's the birthday of Hungarian composer Franz Lehar (GYPSY LOVE; THE LAND OF SMILES), born in Komarom, Austri-Hungry, on this day in 1870.

George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States on this day in 1789 in New York, the country's capital at that time.

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
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