When you set sail for Ithaca,
wish for the road to be long,
full of adventures, full of knowledge.
Though he spent most of his life in Egypt, Constantine Cavafy (born April 29, 1863) was a Greek-language poet whose work helped revive interest in Greek poetry and was celebrated by English writers like T.S. Eliot and E.M. Forster.
The heart is the toughest part of the body.
Tenderness is in the hands.
Happy 64th birthday, Carolyn Forché! The well-traveled poet spent time in El Salvador as a human rights activist during that country’s brutal civil war–her book, The Country Between Us, is based on that experience.
A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (born April 26, 1889) felt that he should not spend World War II just teaching at Cambridge, so he also got a job as a porter in a London hospital, where he tried to keep his identity a secret.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Happy Arbor Day! The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Spain in 1805—today it is a tree-planting holiday recognized around the world.
I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.
April 24, 1895: Joshua Slocum set out on what was to be a three-year voyage. The Nova Scotia-born adventurer became the first person to circumnavigate the globe solo and wrote a bestselling tale, Sailing Alone Around the World, about his journey.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Happy 77th birthday, Coleman Barks! Most English-speaking fans of 13th century mystic poet Rumi are readers of Barks’ interpretations. Barks is a poet and literature professor who paraphrases existing translations of the Rumi’s work.
And the rest is rust and stardust.
Vladimir Nabokov (born April 22, 1899) grew up trilingual, fully fluent in Russian, English, and French. He translated his own books and was fond of linguistic humor. He inserted “himself” in Lolita as Vivian Darkbloom, an anagram of his name.