Category Archives: On This Day

On This Day: October 30, 1938

Conversation between Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles: PB: I’ve often wondered if you had any idea, before you did it, that War of the Worlds was going to get that kind of response. OW. The kind of response, yes – … Continue reading

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“Do I Terrify?”

Yes, Sylvia, you do, especially when I hear you read “Lady Lazarus.” It’s Sylvia Plath’s birthday today. Here’s a draft of “Stings,” written in the month of October, 1962, the productive (understatement) month when she wrote many of the poems … Continue reading

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On This Day: October 25, 1415: “We Few, We Happy Few.”

Today is the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, cobblers by trade (and patron saints thereof, although Vatican II nixed them from the calendar), fierce warriors of their faith, and martyred in 286. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“These are the pure Magic. These are the clear vision. The rest is only poetry.” – Rudyard Kipling on John Keats and Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Hazlitt, friends to both men, wrote: Coleridge has told me that he himself liked … Continue reading

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Rimbaud’s Son

An essay I wrote years ago, posted today in honor of the birthday of poet Arthur Rimbaud A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their … Continue reading

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Today In History: October 19, 1781

The surrender at Yorktown, which ended the American Revolutionary War. Day before: General Lord Charles Cornwallis to General George Washington, October 18, 1781 I agree to open a treaty of capitulation upon the basis of the garrisons of York and … Continue reading

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“It Is Absurd To Divide People Into Good and Bad. People Are Either Charming or Tedious.”

So said Oscar Wilde, whose birthday it is today. His mother, Jane Speranza Francesca Wilde (aka Lady Wilde, aka “Speranza”) was an incredible woman in the canon of Irish literary history certainly, not to mention its politics and social upheaval. … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, e.e. cummings!

I responded to e.e. cummings in a visceral way when I first had to read his stuff in high school. I didn’t know what it was all about, but I loved the mystery of it, the syntax, the unmistakable look … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, T.S. Eliot

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write in their own way. Everything sounded like an imitation of Eliot. Interestingly enough, … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, F. Scott Fitzgerald

So you see that old libel that we were cynics and skeptics was nonsense from the beginning. On the contrary we were the great believers. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, “My Generation” Fitzgerald was one of those writers I liked right … Continue reading

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