Oct. 14, 2008

The Poet Goes to Indiana

by Mary Oliver

The text of this poem is no longer available.

"The Poet Goes to Indiana" by Mary Oliver from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures. © 2008 by Mary Oliver. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston. (buy now)

It's the birthday of the short-story writer Katherine Mansfield, (books by this author) born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1888. She had affairs with men and women, she traveled deep into the countryside and lived with the indigenous people of New Zealand, and she published stories under a variety of pseudonyms, and some of those stories were scandalous. She is best known as the author of The Garden Party (1922). Mansfield wrote a letter to an editor asking for money, and she said, "I have a rapacious appetite for everything and principles as light as my purse."

It's the birthday of poet E. E. Cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings), (books by this author) born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1894. He is the author of Tulips and Chimneys (1923), 95 Poems (1958), and many more books of poetry.

It's the birthday of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, born in Denison, Texas, in 1890. His mother was a pacifist, and when he decided to go to West Point for college, she broke down in tears. He loved being in the military and training troops. As a general, he liked to smoke cigarettes and make small talk with soldiers, and he slept in the trenches with the privates. When he traveled by jeep near enemy lines, he preferred to drive the jeep himself.

It's the birthday of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, born in London in 1644. He was the son of an admiral, and even after he became a Quaker, he continued to wear splendid clothes and to carry his sword to Friends meetings.

It's the birthday of the poet and essayist Katha Pollitt, (books by this author) born in New York City in 1949, author of The Antarctic Traveler (1982), Subject to Debate (2001), and Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories (2007). She grew up in a family of activists. When she went to Harvard and helped take over the ROTC building to protest the Vietnam War, her parents sent her flowers.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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