Literary Birthdays – Week of May 24 – 30

May 24

Mikhail (Aleksandrovich) Sholokhov (born May 24, 1905) – Russian novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature winner (1965) – And Quiet Flows the Don m sholokhov-2

Bob Dylan Elder

Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) – U.S. singer/songwriter – “Like a Rolling Stone”

First verse of Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Listen to Like a Rolling Stone on YouTube:


See excerpt of a documentary about Dylan:

Bob Dylan

May 25

May 25 is Towel Day!


Ralph Waldo Emerson (born May 25, 1803) – U.S. philosopher, essayist, poet

Visit the Edgar A. Poe Calendar blog and read Rob Velella’s description of

Emerson’s philosophy on nature, summed up in Emerson’s poem “To the Humble Bee.”

Robert Ludlum (born May 25, 1927) – U.S. novelist – The Bourne Identity

Listen to a documentary on Ludlum

May 26

Frankie Manning in Hellzzapoppin

Frankie Manning (born May 26, 1914) – U.S. dancer, choreographer, creator of the Lindy Hop dance – Frankie Mannning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop (Manning’s autobiography)

Who’s Frankie Manning?

See 93-year old Frankie Manning and Dawn Hampton dance in 2008:


Check out Frankie doing the Lindy in the 1941 film Hellzapoppin:


Stevie (Stephanie Lynn) Nicks (born May 26, 1948) – U.S. singer/songwriter

“Gold Dust Woman”

Rock on–gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon,
And dig your grave

Heartless challenge
Pick your path and I’ll pray

Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise–loves–go down
Heartless challenge
Pick your grave
But you’ll never cry out loud


Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
Is it over now–do you know how
T’pick up the pieces and go home.

Rock on–ancient queen
Follow those who pale
In your shadow

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale

Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
Is it over now–do you know how
T’pick up the pieces and go home.

See Nicks perform Gold Dust Woman in Chicago:

Stevie Nicks 2016 “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

Stevie Nicks 2016 “Stand Back”

May 27

Rachel Carson (born May 27, 1907) – U.S. marine biologist and environmentalist – Silent Spring rachel carson

Excerpt from Silent Spring
The “control of nature” is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man. The concepts and practices of applied entomology for the most part date from that Stone Age of science. It is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the most modern and terrible weapons, and that in turning them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth.

DASHIELL HAMMETT Dashiell Hammett (born May 27, 1894) – U.S. detective fiction novelist – The Maltese Falcon

May 28

Ian Fleming (born May 28, 1908) – U.K. novelist (James Bond series) – From Russia With Love (1957)

John Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) – U.S. singer/songwriter for rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Born on the Bayou”

Now, when I was just a little boy,
Standing to my Daddy’s knee,
My poppa said, “Son, don’t let the man get you
Do what he done to me.”

‘Cause he’ll get you,
‘Cause he’ll get you now, now.
And I can remember the fourth of July,
Running through the backwood, bare.

And I can still hear my old hound dog barking,
Chasing down a hoodoo there.
Chasing down a hoodoo there.

Born On The Bayou;
Born On The Bayou;
Born On The Bayou.

Wish I was back on the Bayou.
Rolling with some Cajun Queen.
Wishing I were a fast freight train,
Just a choogling on down to New Orleans.

Do it, do it, do it, do it.
Oh, Lord.
Oh get back boy.

I can remember the fourth of July,
Running through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barking,
Chasing down a hoodoo there.
Chasing down a hoodoo there.

See Fogerty perform his song “Born on the Bayou” with
the Grateful Dead in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, 1991:

May 29

G.K. Chesterton (born May 29, 1874) – U.K. novelist, poet, short story writer – “The Scandal of Father Brown” gk chesterton-crop

Excerpt from “The Scandal of Father Brown”

There’s precious little to go on,’ said Inspector Greenwood. ‘Of course
a lot of officious servants must do their duty as usual, and wash out all
the glasses; including old Raggley’s glass. If it weren’t for everybody
else’s efficiency, we detectives might be quite efficient.’

‘I know,’ said Father Brown, and his mouth took on again the twisted
smile. ‘I sometimes think criminals invented hygiene. Or perhaps
hygienic reformers invented crime; they look like it, some of them.
Everybody talks about foul dens and filthy slums in which crime can run
riot; but it’s just the other way. They are called foul, not because
crimes are committed, but because crimes are discovered. It’s in the
neat, spotless, clean and tidy places that crime can run riot; no mud to
make footprints; no dregs to contain poison; kind servants washing out
all traces of the murder; and the murderer killing and cremating six
wives and all for want of a little Christian dirt.

May 30

Screen Shot 05-30-16 at 12.48 AM.PNG Vizma Belševica (born May 30, 1931) – Latvian poet, novelist

Words about Words

Words came to me in a dream. They gathered around like little scamps, whose mother had been summoned by the militia to answer for their mischief.

And the soft lips of the smallest and sweetest of them grew stiff and began to quiver and it seemed, at any moment now, he would cry, “I’ll never do it again.” But he wasn’t a crying word. And so I said:

Words, my words, don’t hang your heads, when once again
We’re put on trial. The dock of the accused
Is just a worn threshold to be trodden
For a world with no walls to begin. A land not a room.
There comes a time to hatch from the egg.
All birds know this. Even the hen.
This is known by the bird. The poet. And the word.

Even the ultimate sentence brings a freedom,
That cannot be revoked.
If brushed by open air,
Don’t look back on the walls, your life.
Birds die. And poets.

The blow of an axe
Can’t fell a word that’s said before death.
A word that’s been spoken can’t be annulled.
Like a swallow in the sky, it can’t be run to ground.

Words, my words, spare your pity!
The ground that supports the harvest
Is not to be pitied by the seed.
With no new shoots, no ploughshare, the soil grows thin.
Hack deeper, painfully, for new thought to thrive.
Come praise or punishment: it’s not your worry.

When the poem is done, the gates between us close.
Go on alone. I brought you forth to life,
And take full responsibility,

Words, my words…

Translated by Māra Rozītis



About litbirthdays

researching author birthdays
This entry was posted in literature and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s