|Twyla Tharp b. 1941 – U.S. choreographer, dancer – The Creative Habit (2005)|
Watch Mikhail Baryshnikov dance Twyla Tharp’s “Push Comes to Shove” (1977)
Watch Twyla Sharp dance her choreography The One Hundreds (2001)
Born July 1
|Wisława Szymborska b. 1923 – Polish poet|
The commonplace miracle:
that so many common miracles take place.
The usual miracles:
invisible dogs barking
in the dead of night.
One of many miracles:
a small and airy cloud
is able to upstage the massive moon.
Several miracles in one:
an alder is reflected in the water
and is reversed from left to right
and grows from crown to root
and never hits bottom
though the water isn’t deep.
A run-of-the-mill miracle:
winds mild to moderate
turning gusty in storms.
A miracle in the first place:
cows will be cows.
Next but not least:
just this cherry orchard
from just this cherry pit.
A miracle minus top hat and tails:
fluttering white doves.
A miracle (what else can you call it):
the sun rose today at three fourteen a.m.
and will set tonight at one past eight.
A miracle that’s lost on us:
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers
but still it’s got more than four.
A miracle, just take a look around:
the inescapable earth.
An extra miracle, extra and ordinary:
can be thought.
(View With a Grain of Sand, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)
Born July 2
|Alan Schwarz b. 1968 – U.S. journalist|
His investigative and profile pieces are generally credited with revolutionizing the respect and protocol for head injuries in almost every major youth and professional sport. Schwarz’s work was profiled in an early 2011 issue of The New Yorker. Schwarz’s series on football concussions began in January 2007 with a front-page Times story on brain damage found in former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters, who recently had committed suicide at the age of 44. After gathering steam with profiles of current and retired players suffering from post-concussion syndrome and early-onset dementia, the series put concussions on the front burner of football debate and evolved to examine not just N.F.L. issues but the dangers of head trauma in high school and other youth sports, like girls’ soccer and basketball
Alan Schwarz: We’ve always treated this as a public health issue and the fact that the National Football League may or may not have policies that are not in the best interest of their 2,000 grown men making grown men’s decisions – I don’t think a whole lot of people would find that particularly compelling. I think the reason that it matters so much is what they do on Sundays does affect 4.4 million children who play tackle football on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. That’s why it matters. And also to the extent that the NFL tended to downplay effects on concussions both short and long-term; their findings in their research were very dissonant with other research done at various levels. So when they would come out and say it’s OK to put a player back in a game after he’s been knocked unconscious and even went so far to say that schools look at that research and consider policies based on it – that’s pretty bold stuff. You know, it really mattered, not only to young tackle football players but also to girls who appear to sustain concussions in basketball and soccer at rates higher than boys do. Rather than make people aware of how important it was to take injuries seriously, they sort of swept it under the rug.
Born July 3
Julian Assange (b. 1971) – Australian editor / founder of WikiLeaks
|Guram Rcheulishvili b. 1934 – Georgian writer|
Read the Wikipedia article about Guram Rcheulishvili here
Watch a documentary about Guram Rcheulishvili (in Georgian language) here
Born July 4
|Armin Kõomägi b. 1969 – Estonian novelist, short story writer, screenwriter|
His novels can be startling, depressing, disgusting, scary and sad, and they are also at the same time very ironic, realistic, paradoxical and absurd. But they are often humorous, too.
Armin Kõomägi was born in Moldova in 1969 of an Armenian mother and an Estonian father, and thinks of Estonia as a very extraordinary and valuable borderland full of undiscovered opportunities and no prospect of becoming simply a dull European country. He has supported the audiovisual art of Estonia with conviction. Sometimes compared to Viktor Pelevin, Kõomägi speaks about the urban world around us, straying into the science fiction genre and constructing something very postmodernist, and quite complicated in structure.
His collection of short stories Amatöör (Amateur, 2005), draws on magic realism, and is dreamlike – depicting either bad or good dreams in a very realistic way, sometimes and suddenly also turning out “right”. Kõomägi has a keen eye for social criticism and probably leaves no-one indifferent. His story from that collection, Anonüümsed logistikud (Logisticians Anonymous), was awarded the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award in 2006 and made into a movie in 2008.
[from the Estonian Literature Centre biography of Armin Koomagi]
Read an excerpt of Koomagi’s short story “Logisticians Anonymous” here (page 159)
Born July 5
|Andrew Martin b. 1962 – U.K. novelist – Jim Stringer detective series|
Read about Andrew Martin here
Read an interview with Andrew Martin here
Born July 6
Saturday June 7
|Lesego Rampolokeng b. 1965 – South African performance poet|
Read about Lesego Rampolokeng here
Watch an interview with Lesego Rampolokeng here
from Crab Attack/Intro to the Master
Baudelaire lost his hair in the rap-dragon’s lair
Ginsberg howled on the wagon running wild on jazz music
organic nothing plastic from the classics to the beatniks
oral poetics in the mix colonial tactics fake the facts
I take it back… a reappropriation act
‘cos granny thought Shakespeare a star player of soccer
but granny shocker lyrical clocker
dear oh dear she was a wild rhythm and rhyme rocker
I ride the mental colt break unfo-vault
for self-rank pump system shock in kilovolt
jump bolt nut & lock on intellect bank
not verbal gymnast when I flip tongue it’s toil
twist the WORD around dead in the ground snakes recoil
‘cos I carry the sound of soil now check it
Born July 7
David McCullough (b. 1933) – U.S. historian – John Adams (2002)
Visit the online used bookstore DempseyBooks at