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Friday, February 21, 2020

A Writer's Moment: Just 'Sleeping In'

A Writer's Moment: Just 'Sleeping In': I’ve always liked this poem by Englishman Roger McGough, who recently celebrated his 82nd birthday.   I thought of it again yesterday when ...

Just 'Sleeping In'

I’ve always liked this poem by Englishman Roger McGough, who recently celebrated his 82nd birthday.   I thought of it again yesterday when the new-fallen snow covered our streets, sidewalks and yards – unblemished but just waiting for the tread of neighborhood kids’ feet and tire tracks.
 
               Sleeping In  
 
Our street is dead lazy 
Especially in winter. 
Some mornings you wake up
And it’s still lying there   
Saying nothing.  Huddled
under its white counterpane.

But soon the lorries arrive
Like angry Mums,
Pull back the blankets
And send it shivering
Off to work.
    McGough, by the way, grew up in Liverpool, home to another rather well-known group of lads who made their way in the performance industry under the name The Beatles.  In the 1960s, McGough started making a name in his own right with the publication of his best-selling poetry book The Mersey Sound.    
 
Since then he’s led a highly successful writing career as a performance poet, children’s author and playwright.  A broadcaster, too, he hosts the BBC’s “Poetry Please” show and still makes his home in the Mersey area of Liverpool.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A Writer's Moment: Writing for 'Goodness' Sake

A Writer's Moment: Writing for 'Goodness' Sake: “Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry; let us renew our faith and pl...

Writing for 'Goodness' Sake


“Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry; let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay.

St. Vincent Millay, who was born in Maine on this day in 1892, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923 – only the third woman to win the award in that category.  And just to show that she wasn’t a “one hit wonder,” she won the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry 20 years later.  In between, she wrote many, many great poems and earned the accolade from fellow poet Richard Wilbur that “She wrote some of the best sonnets of the century.”
      While she grew up in Maine, she was educated at Vassar and spent her writing life in New York City, Europe, and during WWII in Washington, DC, where she was active in creating writing supporting the U.S. war efforts. 

Millay also wrote plays and prose and once said, “A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.  If it is a good book nothing can hurt him.  If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” 

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Writer's Moment: A Song Unfinished

A Writer's Moment: A Song Unfinished: “There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old a...

A Song Unfinished


“There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.” – Carson McCullers

Born Lula Carson Smith on this date in 1917 (in Columbus, GA, a place I “hung out” in for a time during my Army days at nearby Ft. Benning), McCullers was an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, and poet whose stories not only were successful in print but also successfully adapted into stage or film versions.

Among her biggest sellers were The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding and Reflections In A Golden Eye, all adapted into highly popular stage or screen productions.   While writing was her ultimate passion, she had planned to be a professional musician and was accepted to study at the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York City.  But en route to enroll, she lost her tuition money and decided instead to work in New York.  After meeting and marrying a young soldier named Reeves McCullers, she decided to try her hand at writing using her middle name and new last name as a pseudonymn.   Her first effort was the wildly successful "Heart," and the rest, as they say . . .  
                         McCullers, who suffered from a number of illnesses and died at age 50, is often described as a “Southern Gothic” writer, indicative of both the settings and style of her stories and her tendency toward depression and loneliness despite her popularity as a writer.  

“But,” she said, “I live with the people I create and that has always made my essential loneliness less keen.”


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Tuesday, February 18, 2020