LitBirthdays July 1 – 7, 2012

July is
International Zine

Go To
July 2
July 3
July 4
July 5
July 6
July 7

July 1

Twyla Tharp b. 1941 – U.S. choreographer, dancer – The Creative Habit (2005)

Read about Twyla Tharp here and here

Watch Mikhail Baryshnikov dance Twyla Tharp’s “Push Comes to Shove” (1977)

Watch Twyla Sharp dance her choreography The One Hundreds (2001)

Born July 1

Irna Phillips (b. 1901) – U.S. radio/television writer, soap opera creator –
As the World Turns

 Juan Carlos Onetti (b. 1909) – Uruguayan novelist – The Shipyard

July 2


Wisława Szymborska b. 1923 – Polish poet

Read about Wislawa Szymborska here

Miracle Fair

The commonplace miracle:
that so many common miracles take place.

The usual miracles:
invisible dogs barking
in the dead of night.

One of many miracles:
a small and airy cloud
is able to upstage the massive moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder is reflected in the water
and is reversed from left to right
and grows from crown to root
and never hits bottom
though the water isn’t deep.

A run-of-the-mill miracle:
winds mild to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

A miracle in the first place:
cows will be cows.

Next but not least:
just this cherry orchard
from just this cherry pit.

A miracle minus top hat and tails:
fluttering white doves.

A miracle (what else can you call it):
the sun rose today at three fourteen a.m.
and will set tonight at one past eight.

A miracle that’s lost on us:
the hand actually has fewer than six fingers
but still it’s got more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the inescapable earth.

An extra miracle, extra and ordinary:
the unthinkable
can be thought.

(View With a Grain of Sand, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

Born July 2

Evelyn Lau (b. 1971) – Canadian poet, memoirist, novelist –
Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid (1989)

Wibo (“Wim” Willem Louis Joseph Boost) (b. 1918) – Dutch cartoonist

July 3

Alan Schwarz b. 1968 – U.S. journalist – ADHD Nation

Read about Alan Schwarz here

His investigative and profile pieces are generally credited with revolutionizing the respect and protocol for head injuries in almost every major youth and professional sport. Schwarz’s work was profiled in an early 2011 issue of The New Yorker.  Schwarz’s series on football concussions began in January 2007 with a front-page Times story on brain damage found in former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters, who recently had committed suicide at the age of 44. After gathering steam with profiles of current and retired players suffering from post-concussion syndrome and early-onset dementia, the series put concussions on the front burner of football debate and evolved to examine not just N.F.L. issues but the dangers of head trauma in high school and other youth sports, like girls’ soccer and basketball

[from Wikipedia]

Alan Schwarz: We’ve always treated this as a public health issue and the fact that the National Football League may or may not have policies that are not in the best interest of their 2,000 grown men making grown men’s decisions – I don’t think a whole lot of people would find that particularly compelling. I think the reason that it matters so much is what they do on Sundays does affect 4.4 million children who play tackle football on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. That’s why it matters. And also to the extent that the NFL tended to downplay effects on concussions both short and long-term; their findings in their research were very dissonant with other research done at various levels. So when they would come out and say it’s OK to put a player back in a game after he’s been knocked unconscious and even went so far to say that schools look at that research and consider policies based on it – that’s pretty bold stuff. You know, it really mattered, not only to young tackle football players but also to girls who appear to sustain concussions in basketball and soccer at rates higher than boys do. Rather than make people aware of how important it was to take injuries seriously, they sort of swept it under the rug.

 [from Penn Gazette Blog, November 11, 2010]

Read a 2016 review of ADHD Nation in the Guardian

In ADHD Nation, the New York Times journalist Alan Schwarz aims to make sense of this disturbing medical and cultural phenomenon by speaking to the psychiatrists who pushed the diagnosis of ADHD, and the parents and children who bought into it – oblivious to the fact that Ritalin and copycat medications such as Adderall were addictive and could trigger dangerous side-effects, including hallucinations and psychosis.

In keeping with a story that began as a newspaper exposé, Schwarz reserves most of his scorn for the pharmaceutical companies and their paid-for scientific experts, who touted the benefits of treatment drugs while downplaying or ignoring evidence that might have given parents pause for thought.

Born July 3

Julian Assange (b. 1971) – Australian editor / founder of WikiLeaks

Kid Sister (Melisa Young) (b. 1980) – U.S. singer/songwriter – Pro Nails

Franz Kafka (b. 1883) – Austrian short story writer – “The Metamorphosis”

July 4

Guram Rcheulishvili b. 1934 – Georgian writer

Read the Wikipedia article about Guram Rcheulishvili here

Watch a documentary about Guram Rcheulishvili (in Georgian language) here

Born July 4

Colin Welland (b. 1934) – U.K. actor / screenwriter – Chariots of Fire (1981)

Neil Simon (b. 1927) – U.S. playwright, screenwriter – Barefoot in the Park (1963)

Mao Dun (Shen Yen-ping / Shen Yan Bing) (b. 1896) – Chinese novelist, short story writer, journalist -“The Shop of the Lin Family”

Nathaniel Hawthorne (b. 1804) – U.S. novelist, short story writer – The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

Ann Landers (Esther Pauline Friedman) (b. 1918) – U.S. newspaper advice columnist

July 5

Armin Kõomägi b. 1969 – Estonian novelist, short story writer, screenwriter

Read about Armin Kõomägi here and here

His novels can be startling, depressing, disgusting, scary and sad, and they are also at the same time very ironic, realistic, paradoxical and absurd. But they are often humorous, too.

Armin Kõomägi was born in Moldova in 1969 of an Armenian mother and an Estonian father, and thinks of Estonia as a very extraordinary and valuable borderland full of undiscovered opportunities and no prospect of becoming simply a dull European country. He has supported the audiovisual art of Estonia with conviction. Sometimes compared to Viktor Pelevin, Kõomägi speaks about the urban world around us, straying into the science fiction genre and constructing something very postmodernist, and quite complicated in structure.

His collection of short stories Amatöör (Amateur, 2005), draws on magic realism, and is dreamlike – depicting either bad or good dreams in a very realistic way, sometimes and suddenly also turning out “right”. Kõomägi has a keen eye for social criticism and probably leaves no-one indifferent. His story from that collection, Anonüümsed logistikud (Logisticians Anonymous), was awarded the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award in 2006 and made into a movie in 2008.

[from the Estonian Literature Centre biography of Armin Koomagi]

Born July 5

Jody Lynn Nye (b. 1957) – U.S. fantasy fiction / science fiction writer – The Dragonlover’s Guide to Pern (1989)

Bill Watterson (b. 1958) – U.S. cartoonist – Calvin and Hobbes series

Veronica Guerin (b. 1958) – Irish investigative journalist

July 6

Andrew Martin b. 1962 – U.K. novelist – Jim Stringer detective series

Read about Andrew Martin here

Read an interview with Andrew Martin here

Born July 6

 The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) (b. 1935) – Tibetan leader, philosopher – The Universe in a Single Atom (2005)

Louisa Tuthill (b. 1798) – U.S. writer of juvenile fiction and women’s domestic themes; architectural historian – History of Architecture From the Earliest Times

July 7

  Lesego Rampolokeng b. 1965 – South African performance poet

Read about Lesego Rampolokeng here

Watch an interview with Lesego Rampolokeng here

from Crab Attack/Intro to the Master

Baudelaire lost his hair in the rap-dragon’s lair
Ginsberg howled on the wagon running wild on jazz music
organic nothing plastic from the classics to the beatniks
oral poetics in the mix colonial tactics fake the facts
I take it back… a reappropriation act
‘cos granny thought Shakespeare a star player of soccer
but granny shocker lyrical clocker
dear oh dear she was a wild rhythm and rhyme rocker

I ride the mental colt break unfo-vault
for self-rank pump system shock in kilovolt
jump bolt nut & lock on intellect bank
not verbal gymnast when I flip tongue it’s toil
twist the WORD around dead in the ground snakes recoil
‘cos I carry the sound of soil now check it

Born July 7

 David McCullough (b. 1933) – U.S. historian – John Adams (2002)

Helene Johnson (b. 1906 – U.S. poet of the Harlem Renaissance

Lillien Jane Martin (b. 1851) – U.S. psychologist, specialist in early childhood and old age – Salvaging Old Age (1930; co-author Clare de Gruchy)

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