Monday, December 10, 2012

A Poetic Birthday

In addition to today being the birthday of the very Dewey who organized the library and the anniversary of the day in 1884 when Mark Twain first published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Writer’s Almanac lets us know that it is also the day of birth of a whole lot of poetic power.

Most notable, of course, is the Belle of Amherst, Emily Dickinson, who was born on this date in 1830. From Writer’s Almanac:
She spent most of her adult life in her corner bedroom in her father’s house. The room contained a writing table, a dresser, a Franklin stove, a clock, a ruby decanter, and pictures on the wall of three writers: George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Thomas Carlyle. Her favorite author was Shakespeare. She eventually wrote more than 1,700 poems. In the year 1862 alone, she wrote 366 poems -- about one per day.
On this date in 1925, Pulitzer Prize-winning Carolyn Kizer was born in Spokane, Washington.
Kizer is unapologetically proud of her ability to perform her own poems, something she has worked very hard at. “Dylan Thomas was a success not because he was a great poet, but because he read magnificently. There are only a couple of women who read well, and I'm one of them. I'm modest about my poetry, but I'm not modest about my reading. I've worked hard to be good at it, and I'm proud of it.”
Another poet, Thomas Lux, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on this day in 1946.
“He's known for his surreal, funny poems with titles like “Commercial Leech Farming Today,’ ‘Traveling Exhibition of Torture Instruments,’ ‘The Oxymoron Sisters,’ and ‘Walt Whitman's Brain Dropped on Laboratory Floor.’ 
He describes contemporary American poetry as “Burgeoning, chaotic, many, many good poets, a growing cultural profile, a healthy, squawking, boisterous, fractious, inclusive, tradition and (true) innovation marrying or colliding.”
The Writer’s Almanac piece is here.

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