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Today in Literature

October 2, 2009

2 October 1879: Poet Wallace Stevens was born just up to road in Reading, Pennsylvania.  Before beginning his career in poetry, Wallace worked in journalism, attended law school, and worked for an insurance company in Hartford, CT. Even after obtaining moderate success as a poet, he continued to work, saying: “It gives a man character as a poet to have this daily contact with a job.”

Here’s one of my favorite Stevens poems:

Anecdote of the Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Also on this day:

Pirate poet Shel Silverstein was born in 1930.

Graham Greene was born in 1904. Greene is notable for me because of his mention in Donnie Darko.  The film enticed me to read Greene’s 1954 short story “The Destructors” and it remains one of my favorite pieces of short fiction.

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