Fun_People Archive
3 Oct
LIT BITS V3 #277

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue,  3 Oct 100 18:48:09 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: LIT BITS V3 #277

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: LITERARY CALENDAR V3 #277

Today is Wednesday, 4 October 2000; on this day,

465 years ago (1535),

     The first complete English translation of the Bible is printed in

138 years ago (1862),

     Edward L. Stratemeyer is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Under the
     pseudonym Arthur M. Winfield he will create the Rover Boys; as Ralph
     Bonehill, the Boy Hunter series.

116 years ago (1884),

     Syndicated journalist and writer Damon Runyon (_Guys and Dolls_) is
     born in Manhattan, Kansas. Later his stories about New York's Manhattan
     will earn him the sobriquet "Broadway Boswell."

108 years ago (1892),

     Robert Lawson, the only author/illustrator to win both the Caldecott
     Award and the Newbery Award--both coveted awards in the United States
     for children's literature, is born. His illustrations for _They Were
     Strong and Good_ will earn him the Caldecott Award in 1941. _Rabbit
     Hill_ will be the 1945 Newbery Award book.  However, his best known
     book will be _The Story of Ferndinand_. (SM)

90 years ago (1910),

     Jack London buys nine plot outlines from Sinclair Lewis, aged 25, for

26 years ago (1974),

     American poet, Anne Sexton, dies, a suicide. From her first work, _To
     Bedlam and Part Way Back_ (1960) to her posthumously published _45
     Mercy Street_ (1976) and _Uncollected Poems with Three Stories_ (1978),
     she will write of her intense personal life.

Today's poem:

                    Wanting to Die

     Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
     I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
     Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

     Even then I have nothing against life.
     I know well the grass blades you mention,
     the furniture you have placed under the sun.

     But suicides have a special language.
     Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
     They never ask why build.

     Twice I have so simply declared myself,
     have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
     have taken on his craft, his magic.

     In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
     warmer than oil or water,
     I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

     I did not think of my body at needle point.
     Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
     Suicides have already betrayed the body.

     Still-born, they don't always die,
     but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
     that even children would look on and smile.

     To thrust all that life under your tongue!--
     that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
     Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say,

     and yet she waits for me, year after year,
     to so delicately undo an old wound,
     to empty my breath from its bad prison.

     Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
     raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
     leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

     leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
     something unsaid, the phone off the hook
     and the love, whatever it was, an infection.

                                                 Anne Sexton

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