Jun. 4, 1997

The Last Poem to His First Wife

by Jeffrey Skinner


Today's Reading:"The Last Poem to His First Wife" by Jeffrey Skinner from A GUIDE TO FORGETTING, published by Graywolf Press (1988).

It was on this day in 1989 that Chinese troops, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, opened fire on unarmed pro- democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. An estimated 2,600 people were killed and another 10,000 injured.

It's the birthday of Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, born in Rome on this day in 1966.

Ballerina Darci Kistler, who became New York City Ballet's principal dancer at the age of 17, was born on this day in Riverside, California, in 1964.

It's the birthday of jazz composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, born in Chicago in 1945.

It was on this day in 1944 that Allied troops liberated Rome.

It's the birthday of screenwriter and novelist Alvah Bessie, a dedicated Marxist who was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1940s; born in New York City in 1904.

Seismologist Beno Gutenberg, who worked with Charles Richter to develop a way of measuring the intensity of earthquakes, was born in Darmstadt, Germany, on this day in 1889.

It's the birthday of King George III in London, in 1738, the ruler of Great Britain and Ireland during the American Revolution.

Roqueford cheese was discovered accidentally on this day in 1070 when a shepherd found the lunch he had forgotten several days before in a cave near Roqueford, France. His sheep's milk cheese had a small amount of mold on it, giving it a distinct new flavor.

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
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  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
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  • “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
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  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
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  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
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  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
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