Literary Birthdays – Week of June 6 – June 12

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June 6

Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin (b. 1909) – U.K. philosopher, essayist – “The Hedgehog and the Fox”

Read the Authors Calendar biography of Isaiah Berlin

Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article about Isaiah Berlin

June 7

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943) – U.S. poet

Read about Nikki Giovanni here

Read Nikki Giovanni poems at

A Poem Of Friendship

We are not lovers
because of the love
we make
but the love
we have

We are not friends
because of the laughs
we spend
but the tears
we save

I don’t want to be near you
for the thoughts we share
but the words we never have
to speak

I will never miss you
because of what we do
but what we are

See Nikki Giovanni recite “Talk to Me Poem”

Nikki Giovanni’s inspiring talk at Concord University (West Virginia)

Read this interview where Nikki Giovanni talks about her life and the events that made an impact on her

June 8

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee (b. 1955) – U.K. computer scientist – Weaving the Web: The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor (co-author Mark Fischetti, 1999)

Read about Tim Berners-Lee here and here

Three things to fix the web (OpEd by Tim Berners-Lee)

Watch a video about Tim Berners-Lee and
the World Wide Web

Watch Tim Berners-Lee talk about his invention and
why he made it free

“It’s a social drive. It’s a drive to make a social system. We’re creating a new world by inventing new technology. And, to a certain extent, inventing new conventions about how people interact.”

June 9

George Axelrod

George Axelrod (b. 1922) – U.S. playwright, screenwriter – The Seven Year Itch

Read about George Axelrod in Scott Myers’ blog post

Bus Stop, an adaptation of a William Inge play, provides the cinema’s fondest window on Marilyn Monroe. Axelrod viewed Monroe, a close friend, tragically, and so does the movie. Among the actress’s dramatic vehicles, only The Misfits approaches its insight and compassion. But Bus Stop also has Axelrod’s wicked sense of humor.”

Read the New York Times obituary for George Axelrod

From Broadway comedies like ”The Seven Year Itch” (1952), ”Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” (1955) and ”Goodbye Charlie” (1959) to adroit screen adaptations of William Inge’s ”Bus Stop” (1956), Truman Capote’s ”Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) and Richard Condon’s ”Manchurian Candidate” (1962), Mr. Axelrod was celebrated for a quirky, sophisticated sensibility that always seemed slightly ahead of the curve.

Watch the trailer for the film PHFFFT, screenplay
by George Axelrod

June 10

Samartha Vashishtha (b. 1983) – Indian poet, translator, technical writer Samartha Vashishtha

Read about Samartha Vashishtha here  and here

Swadesh Deepak*, sir

I know you, sir
wanting the end of the world
to be the launching pad
for your last somersault.

I know you on days I find you home
sitting on your couch reading
maybe a book on literary art
with matchsticks for marking pages
and the chapter on Mayakovsky
skipped at first glance itself.

And on days I miss you by minutes
when you go out for your evening stroll –
a cup of tea from the roadside stall
with labourers gathering breath
and the leaky stove reminding
you / of Sylvia Plath’s stone eyes.

[Read the entire poem here]


Just like both

the ant and the elephant

go sleepy

on a full stomach…

June 11

Siavash Ghomayshi photo Siavash Ghomayshi
(b. 1945) – Iranian-U.S.  singer/songwriter, composer

Read about Siavash Ghomayshi here and here

Watch Siavash Ghomayshi music videos:



June 12

Tess Gerritsen (b. 1953) – U.S. novelist – Harvest (1996)

Read the Wikipedia biography of Tess Gerritsen

Watch an interview of Tess Gerritsen

Listen to / Read the Tess Gerritsen interview
on the Tavis Smiley radio show

Read excerpts from Harvest

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