Jul. 8, 1997

The Stream and the Canoe

by Allen Grossman


Today's Reading:"The Stream and the Canoe" by Allen Grossman from THE BRIGHT NAILS SCATTERED ON THE GROUND, published by New Directions (1986).

It's the 44th birthday today of novelist Anna Quindlen, born in Philadelphia in 1953, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for her op-ed commentary in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Today is the 71st birthday of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, known best for her book ON DEATH AND DYING (1969), born in Zurich in 1926.

It was on this day in 1918 that Ernest Hemingway was wounded in Italy while working as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross.

It's the birthday of architect Philip C. Johnson, designer of New York's AT&T Building with the top that resembles a Chippendale cabinet. He was born in Cleveland in 1906.

Poet and playwright William Vaughan Moody (THE GREAT DIVIDE) was born on this day in Spencer, Indiana, in 1869.

Dirigible pioneer Ferdinand Zeppelin, who first went up in a balloon in St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Union Army during the Civil War, was born on this day in Konstanz, Germany, 1838.

It was on this day in 1822 that the twenty-nine year old poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in Italy while sailing his small schooner home to La Spezia, after visiting his friend Byron.

It's the birthday of fable-writer Jean de la Fontaine, author of 240 fables written as short poems of 10 to 20 lines each. He was born in Chateau-Thierry, France, in 1621.

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