Jul. 15, 2005

At the Children's Violin Concert

by Susan Cataldo

FRIDAY, 15 JULY, 2005
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Poem: "At the Children's Violin Concert" by Susan Cataldo, from drenched: Selected Poems of Susan Cataldo 1979–1999. © Telephone Books. Reprinted with permission.

At the Children's Violin Concert

          Firmly bowed
strands of horse hair
          tightened or
gathered up by
          a small hand to play
          a piece by J.S. Bach
who drank 36 cups of coffee every day.

   I like him because he was
   inspired by his belief in God
    & he played the organ in a church
   in Leipzig & he walked on
   cobblestone streets to his home
   every evening where he fathered
   many children & wrote music
   for his wife to clean house by.
   He worked hard all his life
    & when he died, he left us
   all the little notes he made
   for himself while he was alone.

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of journalist and writer Arianna Huffington, born in Athens, Greece (1950). She went to Cambridge and moved to America in 1980. She was a conservative columnist, but over the years she's become more and more liberal. Arianna Huffington wrote, "One of the definite changes in my thinking was born of the hard reality I confronted when I discovered how much easier it was raising money for the opera and fashionable museums than for at-risk children. So I came to recognize that the task of overcoming poverty will not be achieved without the raw power of government appropriations." Her book, How to Overthrow the Government, came out in 2000.

It's the birthday of the novelist and short story writer Richard Russo, born in Johnstown, New York (1949). He was the author of many novels about small-town life in New England, including Nobody's Fool and Empire Falls.

It's the birthday of novelist Iris Murdoch, born in Dublin to Anglo-Irish parents (1919). Her novels include A Severed Head, The Sea, The Sea, and Jackson's Dilemma. She was a philosopher before she was a novelist. She wrote 26 novels over 40 years. She wrote them all in longhand, copied them out, sealed the two handwritten manuscripts in plastic bags, and carried them down to her publisher herself. She never let any editor change a word of what she had written.

It's the birthday of Clive Cussler, born in Aurora, Illinois (1931). His novels about underwater action adventures have sold more than 120 million copies around the world. The hero is a federal agent named Dirk Pitt, the special projects director for the National Underwater and Marine Agency who exposes government corruption and also explores for lost treasure.

It's the birthday of Ralph Hammond Innes, born in the county of Sussex, England (1914), who wrote 35 novels, including Delta Connection, Wreckers Must Breathe, and The Doppelganger.

It's the birthday of Thomas Bulfinch, born in Newton, Massachusetts (1796). He was famous for his books about legends and myths of other cultures—especially Greek and Roman myths—collected in 1855 in his book The Age of Fable, which became known as Bulfinch's Mythology, a basic reference work for many years.

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