Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.
Happy 58th birthday, Ben Okri! As a teenager, the Nigerian poet and novelist lived through his country’s civil war. He originally wanted to be a physicist, but soon decided that poetry was his true calling.
Sometimes thou seem’st not as thyself alone, But as the meaning of all things that are.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
February 10, 1862: Poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, Lizzie Siddal, died 152 years ago today. At her funeral the distraught husband lay the only manuscript of his poems to rest in his wife’s coffin. Seven years later, he had her body exhumed and retrieved his work.
I believe in the magic and authority of words.
In the early 1930s, popular French poet René Char (born June 14, 1907) rubbed elbows with Pablo Picasso and Albert Camus, but when World War II brought German soldiers to his country, he put down his pen and said goodbye to his friends. Char joined the French resistance in 1940, leading troops and commanding a parachute drop zone under the nom de guerre Captain Alexandre.
A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces
Happy birthday, Wole Soyinka! The Nigerian playwright and poet was imprisoned for 22 months during the Nigerian Civil War. His captors refused to provide him pen and paper, but Soyinka somehow managed to write poems, essays, and letters anyway.