Category Archives: writers

Four Things About Thornton Wilder

It’s his birthday today. 1. Peter Hunt (once Executive and Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival) relates a story about Thornton Wilder and Nikos Psacharopoulos (founder of Williamstown). Peter Hunt: Directing is sometimes doing nothing, sometimes dowin more than … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Poet Christopher Smart

“I do not think he ought to be shut up. His infirmities were not noxious to society. He insisted on people praying with him; and I’d as lief pray with Kit Smart as anyone else. Another charge was that he … Continue reading

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Happy birthday, poet Frank O’Hara

“Attention equals Life.” – poet Frank O’Hara Sometimes I feel that I know everything I need to know about Frank O’Hara just from reading his work. A fascinating guy off the page, he’s still one of those people whose personality … Continue reading

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“Make voyages! — Attempt them! — there’s nothing else …” Happy Birthday, Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams (Thomas Lanier Williams) was born on this day in Columbus, Mississippi in 1911. Will you do a total stranger the kindness of reading his verse? Thank you! Thomas Lanier Williams — Tennessee Williams, letter to editor Harriet Monroe, … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Henrik Ibsen

Famous acting teacher Stella Adler in a transcribed lecture to her acting class on playing Ibsen. Adler BEGGED her students to stop thinking about themselves, about their emotions. She wanted them to be curious about the world, about context, about … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Wilfred Owen

“My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.” Wilfred Owen (now known as one of the best “war poets” of World War I) was born on this day in 1893. He was killed … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac

From a letter of Joyce Johnson to Jack Kerouac, April 14, 1957: “I went to hear Miles Davis, who is playing at the Cafe Bohemia in the Village. He’s really fine — beautiful crazy lines floating on top of each … Continue reading

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James Baldwin on Bette Davis

From James Baldwin’s The Devil Finds Work, an indispensable work of not only film criticism but cultural commentary and observation. Here is Baldwin on the impact seeing Bette Davis on the screen for the first time made on him as … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born on this day in 1892 in Rockland, Maine. Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of those rare creatures: a poet who was a celebrity in her day. A Pulitzer-Prize winner (the third woman to … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Wystan Hugh Auden: “The enlightenment driven away / The habit-forming pain”

W.H. Auden was born on this day in York, England, 1907. Two pieces of advice for writers from Mr. Auden: To keep his errors down to a minimum, the internal Censor to whom a poet submits his work in progress … Continue reading

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