I want to understand you,
I study your obscure language.
Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (born June 6, 1799) was part of the country’s literati from age 15. By 26, he had begun publishing the serialization of Eugene Onegin, his novel in verse. By 37, he was dead, killed in one of the 29 duels that he fought in his short life.
What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.
Carolyn Kizer (born December 10, 1925) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who wrote a series of poems titled Pro Femina and also translated Japanese and Chinese works. When she was 17 years old, one of her poems was published in the New Yorker.
If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.
Happy 48th birthday, Sherman Alexie! The author grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state, which he writes about in his young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seemed filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Elizabeth Bishop (died October 6, 1979) had a talent for epistolary friendship. She corresponded for decades with fellow poets Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell.
One day in the country
Is worth a month in town
December 5, 1830: Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti enjoyed literary success in her lifetime—she was seen as a successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning—and her work is still influential today. A line in her poem, A Dirge, provided the title of J.K. Rowling’s novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Rossetti was born in London, 183 years ago today.
I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
Rainer Maria Rilke
December 4, 1875: Poet Rainer Maria Rilke may be best known for his Letters to a Young Poet, published after his death. When Rilke himself was a young writer living in Paris, he worked briefly as a secretary for the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Rilke was born 138 years ago today.
It isn’t ever delicate to live.
September 27, 1945: Happy 68th birthday, Kay Ryan! After years as a literary outsider, Ryan was named the U.S. Poet Laureate. During her two terms she advocated for community colleges like the College of Marin, where she taught a remedial English class for decades.