Monday, February 25, 2008

This Week in Reading February 24 - March 1

Lots of authors were born this week and a few good and bad things occurred in the events list. The names are mostly well known but don't get into superseller status until the middle of the week as February, the best seller month, winds down toward the juvenile in March. On the 26th we have Victor Hugo who was so popular in France that the country turned his eightieth birthday into a national holiday. After that is Daniel Handler, better known as the wildly popular Lemony Snicket.

Then, Californian Nobel Prizewinner John Steinbeck shows up and then we get some fine literary names for the rest of the week, like Laurence Durell, William Dean Howells, James T. Farrell, and Ralph Ellison. There are other classics both literary and genre related in the same long list.

This week's question: Just like last week it's another big week for poets with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen Spender, Howard Nemerov, Robert Lowell, and Richard Wilbur. Which of them, speaking of writing poetry, which is by nature solitary and without reward, said this? "Yet of course he is pleased when recognition comes; for what better proof is there that for some people poetry is still a useful and necessary thing — like a shoe."

Answer to last week's question: "No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him." was from James Russell Lowell's 1843 poem "A Glance Behind The Curtain."

"No poet or novelist wishes he were the only one who ever lived, but most of them wish they were the only one alive, and quite a number fondly believe their wish has been granted," was the satirical statement of W. H. Auden in his 1962 essay about poetry, "The Dyer's Hand."

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