February 27 Writing

Birthdays: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807), Laura E. Richards (1850), Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. (1888), John Steinbeck (1902), James T. Farrell (1904), Peter De Vries (1910), Lawrence Durrell (1912), Irwin Shaw (1913), N. Scott Momaday (1934), Ralph Nader (1934), Uri Shulevitz (1935), Ken Grimwood (1944), Alexandra Bracken (1987),

Laura Richards won the Pulitzer for a biography of her mother Julia Ward Howe

John Steinbeck won both the Pulitzer for Fiction and 1962 Nobel for Literature

N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer for Fiction for “House Made of Dawn”

Uri Shulevitz won the 1969 Caldecott Medal for “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship”

Quote: “Write what you want to read and don’t even THINK about trying to be published until after you’ve produced something you love and believe in. Easier said than done, but when you genuinely love something it comes through in your writing.” – Alexandra Bracken

Tip: Writing is not supposed to be torture. Yes, there are days when it’s difficult, but if you are dreading it, then you may be writing the wrong thing. Try changing your point of view and try to have fun with it.

Jumpstart: Watch TV without the sound on, using closed captioning. Do you feel like you’ve missed anything? Then turn the sound on but turn away from it so you don’t see it. Again, your feelings? (Note, for those who are hearing or visually impaired, try doing something that tests a different sense)

No American writer of the 19th century was more universally enjoyed and admired than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His works were extraordinary bestsellers for their era, achieving fame both here and abroad. Now, for the first time in over 25 years. Poems and Other Writings offers a full-scale literary portrait of America’s greatest popular poet. Here are the poems that created an American mythology: Evangeline in the forest primeval, Hiawatha by the shores of Gitchee Gumee, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the wreck of the Hesperus, the village blacksmith under the spreading chestnut tree, the strange courtship of Miles Standish, the maiden Priscilla and the hesitant John Alden; verses, like “A Psalm of Life” and the “The Children’s Hour”, whose phrases and characters have become part of the culture. Erudite and fluent in many languages, Longfellow was endlessly fascinated with the byways of history and the curiosities of legend. His many poems on literary themes, such as his moving homages to Dante and Chaucer, his verse translations from Lope de Vega, Heinrich Heine, and Michelangelo, and his ambitious verse dramas, notably The New England Tragedies (also complete), are remarkable in their range and ambition. As a special feature, this volume restores to print Longfellow’s novel Kavanagh, a study of small-town life and literary ambition that was praised by Emerson as an important contribution to the development of American fiction. A selection of essays rounds out of the volume and provides testimony to Longfellow’s concern with creating an American national literature. (From Goodreads)

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