Literary Birthdays December 20 – 26

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December 20

Vaino Linna 1
Väinö Linna (born December 20, 1920) – Finnish novelist – Tuntematon sotilas / The Unknown Soldier (1954)

Read the Authors Calendar biography:

Read about Vaino Linna here and about his novel The Unknown Soldier here



December 21

Ivan Blatny young man
Ivan Blatný (born December 21, 1919) – Czechoslovakian poet – The Drug of Art – Selected Poems

Read about Ivan Blatný here and here

In 1954 Czech poet Ivan Blatný (1919-1990) was hospitalized in Essex for mental health problems. He was to remain institutionalized for the rest of his life, in Ipswich and later Clacton-on-Sea, or “Bohemia-on-Sea” as Nick Drake calls it in his poem “Cigarettes for Mr Blatný.” Blatný had achieved fame early back home, with four books of poems before he turned thirty, but on entering hospital… he was ignored and his writings thrown away. Not until a chance meeting in 1977 between one of his nurses and someone who knew Blatný in Czechoslovakia were his tales of being a poet taken seriously. Relieved of his lampshade-making duties, he was given a typewriter as part of his “occupational” therapy, and new work swiftly followed.”   [from David Wheatley’s article in Contemporary Poetry Review, 2008]

On the Verandah

On the verandah in the rustle of old bean-pods and seed catalogues
young Everard reads old detective-stories
Edgar Wallace Agatha Christie Simenon
Twenty thousand leagues beneath the sea
The verandah sets sail like summer the last summer
with Captain Nemo dead in the sand beneath the sea

If only it were not yet the last summer
if only we could remain forever
happy in the maternal womb
in the rustle of seed catalogues.

Listen to a radio feature about Ivan Blatny with audio of Blatny reciting his poetry here

Visit the Ivan Blatny photo gallery here

Ivan Blatny old

December 22

Kenneth Rexroth (born December 22, 1905) – U.S. ‘Beat movement’ poet

Read about Kenneth Rexroth here

Read some poems by Rexroth here

Visit the Kenneth Rexroth archive website:

I pass your home in a slow vermilion dawn,
The blinds are drawn, and the windows are open.
The soft breeze from the lake
Is like your breath upon my cheek.
All day long I walk in the intermittent rainfall.
I pick a vermilion tulip in the deserted park,
Bright raindrops cling to its petals.
At five o’clock it is a lonely color in the city.
I pass your home in a rainy evening,
I can see you faintly, moving between lighted walls.
Late at night I sit before a white sheet of paper,
Until a fallen vermilion petal quivers before me.

December 23

Katie Underwood
Katie Underwood (born December 23, 1975) – Australian singer / songwriter

Watch Katie Underwood sing Beautiful / Come Back to Me

December 24

Herbert Reinecker (born December 24, 1914) – German novelist, screenwriter Herbert Reinecker

Read about Herbert Reinecker here and (in German) here

Watch excerpts from the German TV series Der Kommissar, written by Herbert Reinecker:

December 25

Dido 1
Dido (Florian Armstrong) (born December 25, 1971) – U.K. singer / songwriter

Watch the music video for Dido’s White Flag

and the music video for Here With Me

December 26

 Narendra Prasad Narendra Prasad (born December 26, 1946) – Indian playwright, novelist, actor, theatre director

Read about Narendra Prasad here and here

Watch Narendra Prasad in an excerpt from
the film
Ulsavamelam (1992)



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