Oct. 2, 1997

A Postcard from the Volcano

by Wallace Stevens


Today's Reading: "A Postcard from the Volcano" by Wallace Stevens from COLLECTED POEMS, published by Alfred A. Knopf.

The Nottingham Goose Fair, held annually since the year 1248, begins today in Nottingham, England.

The Riley Festival, celebrating Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, starts today in Greenfield, Indiana.

The comic strip PEANUTS, by Charles M. Schulz, made its first appearance in the newspapers in 1950.

Novelist Graham Greene, author of THE POWER AND THE GLORY, THE HEART OF THE MATTER and THE HONORARY CONSUL, was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, in 1904.

Poet Roy Campbell, best known for his narrative poem THE FLAMING TERRAPIN, was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1901.

William A. 'Bud' Abbott, the straight man to Lou Costello, was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1900.

Julius Henry 'Groucho' Marx, one of the five Marx brothers that included Chico, Harpo, Gummo, and Zeppo, was born on the upper East Side of Manhattan in 1890.

Poet Wallace Stevens, who worked at an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut, was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1879. "Wine and music are not good until afternoon. But poetry is like prayer in that it is most effective in solitude and in the times of solitude--as, for example, in the earliest morning."

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
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