Category Archives: writers

Happy Birthday to “the Ploughman Poet” of Scotland

In other words: Robert Burns. Or perhaps I should say “Rahbbie Barrrrrrrrns.” Right now in Scotland, and around the world, wherever Scottish people gather, people are standing up and proclaiming his verses into crowded pubs, everybody chanting along in unison. … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Patricia Highsmith

It’s Patricia Highsmith’s birthday today. I wrote a gigantic piece about her here. He wouldn’t have killed someone just to save Derwatt Ltd. or even Bernard, Tom supposed. Tom had killed Murchison because Murchison had realized, in the cellar, that … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Jack London

Jack London was born on this day, January 12, 1876. Happy birthday to the man who wrote: The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865. “I woshipped Kipling at 13, loathed him at 17, enjoyed him at 20, despised him at 25, and now again rather admire him.” – George Orwell, 1936 Michael Schmidt, … Continue reading

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“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

Dame Rebecca West is the grand dame on my very short list of “intellectual idols”. It is her birthday today. It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday to the Belle of Amherst

Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830. It is not known why she withdrew from society so completely. Theories abound, the latest being that she was epileptic. Books have been written. The mystery remains. What we have are … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, John Milton

Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour: England hath need of thee: she is a fen Of stagnant waters: altar, sword and pen, Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Have forfeited their ancient English dower Of inward … Continue reading

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“I Hold Back Nothing.” – Anne Sexton

Today is the birthday of poet Anne Sexton. When you read the Complete Poems, you can feel her sliding off the rails at the end (I’m not talking about mentally, I’m talking about the quality of her work, although the … 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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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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