Literary Birthdays – April 4 through 10


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April 4

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Ann Johnson) (b. 1928) – U.S. poet, autobiographer, playwright, essayist, singer, dancer – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Read a biography of Maya Angelou

Watch a 4-minute “biopic” of Maya Angelou

Read a transcription of David Frost’s 1995 interview of
Maya Angelou


April 5

Amalia Guglielminetti (b. 1885) – Italian poet, playwright, novelist – Le Vergini Folli / Mad Virgins (1907)

Read about Amalia Guglielminetti here and here

Ella va sola

nei molti canti

amari ed allegri…

Non è Ada Negri

né Annie Vivanti.

Ma quando una carola

d’amore intreccia

ella scivola, sfreccia

rapida e civettuola…

E non va sola!

Pure originalmente

nell’Olimpo s’accampa

per la sua vampa


Non è Gaspara Stampa,

Veronica Gambara,

né la Contessa Lara.

Ella va sola,

certo non vibra

però se il canto libra

fuor dell’umana scorza,

talvolta vola;

prende a cantar con forza

ma poi si smorza,

la cetra sua si scheggia

e il suono ondeggia

tra un bacio ed uno schiaffo.

No, non è Saffo!

Ma aggiungi un’emme

al nome di battesimo

ed ecco l’incantesimo

delle sue gemme,

o moderna Castalda

in diciottesimo:

Guglielminetti? Ammalia!

[Read more here]


April 6

Leonora Carrington (b. 1917) – U.K. surrealist artist and writer – The Oval Lady

Read the Wikipedia biography of Leonora Carrington

Read a recent article about Leonora Carrington

View a montage of Carrington’s art
(Mexico City 2008 Exhibition)

See more of Carrington’s art in Elisa Lovo’s blog post (in Portuguese):

Read an excerpt (in Spanish) from Carrington’s one-act play
The Invention of Mole


April 7

Daniel Ellsberg (b. 1931) – U.S. decision theorist, military analyst – Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002)

Read the Wikipedia entry for Daniel Ellsberg

Watch Daniel Ellsberg talk about the Pentagon Papers


April 8

Robert Toru Kiyosaki (b. 1947) – U.S. financial self-help speaker, writer – Rich Dad, Poor Dad series robert_kiyosaki

Read the Wikipedia article about Robert Kiyosaki here

Watch Robert Kiyosaki talk about “the conspiracy of the rich”


April 9

George David Weiss (b. 1921) – U.S. songwriter – “What A Wonderful World”


Listen to

“Lullaby of Birdland”

(by George Shearing and George David Weiss)


Listen to Della Reese sing

“And Now”

(written by Luigi Creatore, Hugo E. Peretti, and George David Weiss)


Elvis Presley sings

“Can’t Help Falling In Love”

(written by Luigi Creatore, Hugo E. Peretti,
and George David Weiss)


watch The Tokens perform live

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

(written by Luigi Creatore, Hugo E. Peretti,
and George David Weiss)


watch Louis Armstrong sing

“What A Wonderful World”

(written by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss)

April 10

George William Russell (AE) (b. 1867) – Irish poet, theosophist, artist, political activist  George William Russell

Read the Wikipedia entry for
George William Russell

By The Margin Of The Great Deep

When the breath of twilight blows to flame the misty skies,
All its vaporous sapphire, violet glow and silver gleam,
With their magic flood me through the gateway of the eyes;
I am one with the twilight’s dream.

When the trees and skies and fields are one in dusky mood,
Every heart of man is rapt within the mother’s breast:
Full of peace and sleep and dreams in the vasty quietude,
I am one with their hearts at rest.

From our immemorial joys of hearth and home and love
Stray’d away along the margin of the unknown tide,
All its reach of soundless calm can thrill me far above
Word or touch from the lips beside.

Aye, and deep and deep and deeper let me drink and draw
From the olden fountain more than light or peace or dream,
Such primaeval being as o’erfills the heart with awe,
Growing one with its silent stream.


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