LitBirthdays January 30 – February 5, 2011

February is

Black History Month


Library Lovers Month

Tweet us today with author birthdays!

January 30

Jack Spicer Jack Spicer (born 1925) – U.S. poet

Read about Jack Spicer here and here

This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to …

Read the entire poem at the As It Ought To Be blog

January 31

Daniel Tammet
(born 1979) – U.K. savant, memoirist – Embracing the Wide Sky 2007
 Screen Shot 02-03-16 at 06.37 AM

Read about Daniel Tammet here and here

Visit Daniel Tammet’s blog Optimnem

Daniel Tammet TED talk:

February 1

Big Boi (Antwan André Patton) (born 1975) – U.S. rapper, actor, producer, songwriter

Read the Wikipedia article about Big Boi

Watch Big Boi’s (Sir Lucious Leftfoot) “Shutterbug” music video


Langston Hughes (born 1902) – U.S. poet, novelist

See the February 1, 2010 LitBirthdays for more about Langston Hughes

February 2

xuan-dieu Xuân Diệu (born 1916) – Vietnamese poet

Read the Wikipedia article about Xuân Diệu

Quả lựu / Pomegranate
Nửa mưa nửa nắng, là em; / Half sun, half rain, the children
Nắng thưa mưa nhặt, vườn thêm bùi ngùi / pick the abundant sunshine, settle in the garden
Lòng anh: quả lựu chín mùi, / His heart: a ripe pomegranate
Lắm khi vừa vỡ vừa cười – đó em / with a broken smile – I am that

Also born February 2:

James Joyce

Joseph Cotter

February 3

Paul Auster Paul Auster (born 1947) – U.S. novelist – Leviathan (1992)

Read the Wikipedia article about Paul Auster
Read reviews of Paul Auster’s books here
Read an interview with Paul Auster

Also born February 3

Marlon Riggs

James Michener

February 4

Abdul Rahman Badawi (born 1917) – Egyptian philosopher

Read a biography of Abdul Rahman Badawi

“His belief was that the west and Islam were complementary, and compatible, links in a common chain. His promotion of this thesis – which runs counter to the creeds of modern Islamists – was found in his seminal books Greek Heritage in Islamic Civilization (1940) and Aristotle among the Arabs, as well as countless translations of Greek thought.”

Read a different take on Abdul Rahman Badawi in this obituary (July 2002 UK Independent)

During his stormy life Badawi would only visit the Orient if it was strictly necessary, with his thoughts remaining in the West. During his professorships in Kuwait (1975-82), Tehran University (1973-74) and Libya (1967-73), he seldom mixed with “the natives” and spent every single break in Europe. Classically minded, traditionalist and élitist, Badawi was drawn early to Greek philosophy.
Badawi said that the nature of Islamic civilisation could only be defined by measuring its reaction to Greek civilisation, arguing that the earlier – which denies individual identity before a higher god – was incapable of producing philosophy to comprehend the spirit of the latter. Pointing to the 11th-century fatwa by Ibn Salah Eldine Al-Shahrouzi, banning studying logic as “heresy delivering man into Satan’s bosom” – still upheld by fundamentalists – he concluded that the contradictions between the basic philosophies of the two is the key to understanding the continuous conflicts between Islam and the West.

Read about Badawi’s philosophy

He is the first Arab existentialist, emerging in the Egypt of the 1940s contemporaneously with, or at least immediately after, the rise of existentialism in France and Germany.   Badawi the existentialist is also the result of his famous article, “Can there be existential morals?” in which he concludes that existential morality, being dependent on suspicion and thereby incapable of lending itself to objectifiable standards, cannot exist.

It is remarkable that, for someone of his background, he preferred knowledge to homeland, self to subject, individual to group: remarkable but sad, for by the end of a life devoted to the existential imperative of existence in the world the world had been reduced to a salutary individual existence. Badawi left behind no family, no friends, no disciples, no school.

Read Joseph A. Kechichian’s article “Egypt’s Pioneer Intellectual”

Born February 4
Buell Gordon Gallagher
Betty Friedan

February 5

Andrew Greeley
(born 1928) – U.S. novelist, sociologist, Catholic priest – Irish Tiger (2008)

Read about Andrew Greeley here and here

Born February 5

Jermain Wesley Loguen

Jovan Dučić

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