Literary Birthdays for authors of all kinds: July 12 through 18

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July 12

Pablo Neruda (born July 12, 1904) – Chilean poet
Frozen-faced, by the stripped trees,
in the road’s glare,
the white hour of matutinal frost.
The cold of my pure hands, my heart’s savagery
crying its confrontational
cry that can never drown out
the changeless equation
the meadow contrives with the sky,
the infinite doctrine of winter:
light crowding daylight’s extension,
white as a dead fish.
Nothing acts but the cold: only the cold lives.
How lightly it fondles the earth
before visiting summer
imposes the sloth of the poppy!
Yet a knife is unsheathed–and then, how the hackles
arise, electric, on cowardly bodies
and souls huddled away in their dream!
O, stone wing of cold,
deliver me,
make me
the cup of your menace and energy,
restore all that pleasure and tenderness snatched from our grasp–
the stare of the eye-to-eye challenger, the enemy,
vital, indomitable, mortal.
From Barren Terrain (1972)

July 13

Cameron Crowe

Cameron Crowe (born July 13, 1957) – U.S. screenwriter, journalist – Aloha (2015)


Wole Soyinka (born July 13, 1934) – Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, essayist; winner of 1986 Nobel Prize for literature – Madmen and Specialists (1976)

Watch Soyinka talk about the new (post-colonial) Africa:

July 14

Natalia Ginzburg
Natalia Ginzburg (born July 14, 1916) – Italian short-story writer, political activist

Read about Natalia Ginzburg here

Read the Author’s Calendar article about Natalia Ginzburg

Isaac Bashevis Singer (born July 14? or October 26 or November 21, 1904) – Polish-American short story writer, essayist, winner of 1978 Nobel Prize for literature – The Power of Light – Eight Stories for Hanukkah

Read how July 14 was selected to be Isaac B. Singer’s birthday in Florence Noiville’s biography of Singer, here:


Isaac B. Singer: A Life by Florence Noiville

Watch this excerpt from a documentary about Isaac Bashevis Singer:

July 15

Iris Murdoch Iris Murdoch (born July 15, 1919) – Irish-British philosopher, novelist, poet

Read about Iris Murdoch here

Iris Murdoch and Krishnamurti talk philosophy in this YouTube video:

July 16

Santa Chiara Saint Clare of Assisi (Chiara Offreduccio) (born July 16, 1194) – Italian nun, mystic, founder of the Order of Poor Clares.

Excerpt from Saint Clare’s third letter to
Agnes of Prague, written in 1238.

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance.
And transform your entire being into the image
of the Godhead Itself through contemplation.
So that you too may feel what His friends feel
as they taste the hidden sweetness that
God Himself has reserved from the beginning
for those who love Him.

And, after all who ensnare their blind lovers
in a deceitful and turbulent world have been
completely sent away, you may totally love Him
Who gave Himself totally for your love,
Whose beauty the sun and the moon admire,
Whose rewards and their preciousness and greatness
are without end;
I am speaking of Him Who is the Son of the Most High,
Whom the Virgin brought to birth and remained a
virgin after His birth.
May you cling to His most sweet Mother who gave birth
to a Son whom the heavens could not contain…

Read the entire letter here:

July 17

Erle Stanley Gardner (born July 17, 1889) – U.S. detective fiction writer (Perry Mason series) – The Case of the Perjured Parrot (1939)


Gardner also wrote the Cool and Lam series under the pen name A.A. Fair. Read this Guys Lit Wire blog post about Top of the Heap by A.A. Fair:

July 18

Yevgeny Yevtushenko Yevgeny Yevtushenko (born July 18, 1933) – Russian poet

Read about Yevtushenko here

Excerpt from the poem “Being Late”

Something dangerous
is beginning:
am coming late
to my own self.

I made an appointment
with my thoughts–
the thoughts
were snatched
from me.I made an appointment
with Faulkner–
but they made me
go to a banquet.I made an appointment
with history,
but a grass-widow
dragged me into bed.Worse
than barbed wire
are birthday parties,
mine and others’,and roasted suckling pigs
hold me
like a sprig of parsley
between their teeth!Led away for good
to a life absolutely not my own,
everything that I eat,
eats me,everything that I drink,
drinks me.

For all birthday boys and girls:

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1 Response to Literary Birthdays for authors of all kinds: July 12 through 18

  1. Rob V. says:

    Sunday, July 12 is also the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, who was born in 1817. Don’t worry; I’ll always remind you of the 19th-century American writers. ;)

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