Literary Birthdays – November 15 – 21

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November 15

Marianne Moore (born November 15, 1887) – U.S. poet

The Fish
through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself like

injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the

split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices—
in and out, illuminating

turquoise sea
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron throught the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

rice-grains, ink-
bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.

marks of abuse are present on this
defiant edifice—
all the physical features of

of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
hatchet strokes, these things stand
out on it; the chasm-side is

evidence has proved that it can live
on what cannot revive
its youth. The sea grows old in it.

A video based on the poem The Fish:

November 16

Arvid Jarnefelt Arvid Järnefelt (pseudonym Arvi Rauta) (born November 16, 1861) – Finnish novelist, playwright, Tolstoyist – Heraamiseni / My Awakening (1894)

Read the excellent Authors Calendar biography here:

A book by Arvid Jarnefelt: Purity of Ideals (in Finnish language):
Puhtauden ihanne

November 17

Steven E. de Souza (born November 17, 1947) – U.S. screenwriter – Die Hard

Watch Steven de Souza talk about developing one aspect of
the script for
Die Hard:

November 18

Frances Marion Frances Marion (born November 18, 1888) – U.S. screenwriter  – Riffraff (1936)

Read Cari Beauchamp’s article about Frances Marion:

Watch excerpts from Anna Christie, screenplay by Frances Marion:

or watch Garbo read men the riot act:

“And if I told you that just getting out on this barge, and being on sea, had changed me, made me feel different about things — as if all that I’d been through wasn’t me; didn’t count; was just like it never happened!  You’d laugh, wouldn’t you.  And you’d die laughing, I’m sure. … And I thought you was different than the ones on land, as water’s from mud!”

November 19

Yuri Knorosov
Yuri Knorozov [Knorosov](ЮрийВалентинович Кнорозов) (born November 19, 1922) Soviet (Ukrainian) linguist, decipherer of Mayan script –  “Ancient Writing of Central America” (1952)

Read a biography of Yuri Knorosov here:

and how he cracked the Mayan script here:

Read the reference to Yuri Knorozov in Lawrence Joseph’s
Apocalypse 2012: A scientific investigation into civilization’s end:

Watch an excerpt about Knorosov in the documentary
Breaking the Maya Code:

November 20

Sheema Kalbasi (born November 20, 1972) – Iranian  poet  – Echoes in Exile

Read about Sheema Kalbasi here

Excerpt from
For Women of Afghanistan

As I walk in the streets of Kabul,
behind the painted windows,
there are broken hearts, broken women.
If they don’t have any male family to accompany them,
they die of hunger while begging for bread,
the once teachers, doctors, professors
are today nothing but walking hungry houses.
Not even tasting the moon,
they carry their bodies around, in the covered coffin veils.
They are the stones in the back of the line …
their voices not allowed to come out of their dried mouths.

Butterflies flying by, have no color in Afghani women’s eyes
for they can’t see nothing but blood shaded streets
from behind the colored windows,
and can’t smell no bakery’s bread
for their sons bodies exposing, cover any other smell,
and their ears can’t hear nothing
for they hear only their hungry bellies
crying their owners unheard voices
with each sound of shooting and terror.

Remedy for the bitter silenced Amnesty,
the bloodshed of Afghani woman’s life
on the-no-limitation-of-sentences-demanding help
as the voices break away not coming out but pressing hard
in the tragic endings of their lives.

Read this poem and others by Kalbasi here:

Read Sheema Kalbasi’s letter to her beloved Iran:

“You are the nature with all of its purity. I look at my hands. The hands that hope to single you out in detail, to brush over your ears, to discover the tip of your chin, walking through your cells room to room, aware of the layers of Persian regions, and the genes. The chaos of work sometimes surrounds me and I watch my words fog away before my eyes. I wake up in the middle of the night to write for you my beloved but the mirror opposite the bed shows an exhausted woman, a woman who evidently has eyes with corners that cry and laugh, eyes that don’t want to see the danger of losing you.”

Read Sheema Kalbasi’s blog:

November 21

Qian Zhongshu (born November 21, 1910) – Chinese essayist, novelist, scholar – Fortress Besieged (1947)

Read Fortress Besieged online:

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