Welcome, everyone, to the month of September with a beautiful painting and a lovely poem

Welcome to the month of September with a painting by the great Frida Kahlo and a lovely poem from Daniel Brick. September Comes By Daniel Brick In summer, you were stunned by green things blooming, bronzed by heat released from every inch of sky, carried across blue thresholds by random winds. Oh, how you felt …

Welcome to the month of August, with a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and a poem by Wanda Swim Strunk

  August Is The Dying Month August is the dying month When hot July struggles to keep her hold Moving toward a hopeless chilled September Pretending to be summer As if children heading back to school stir the cold from the sky It is a refined deceiver August is a butterfly crushed on a roadway …

Today in Literary History -July 23, 1888 – “noir” detective novelist Raymond Chandler is born

Raymond Chandler was born on July 23, 1888 in Chicago, Illinois. He is considered to be the most accomplished writer ever of “hard boiled" detective fiction, a genre he helped create. Many of his admirers (who included T.S. Eliot and Evelyn Waugh) would say that he was one of the greatest 20th century American writers, …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Emil Cioran dies – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Emil Cioran, the Romanian philosopher and author who lived most of his life in France died on June 20, 1995, at the age of eighty-four, from Alzheimer Disease. Cioran had been obsessed by the idea of suicide his whole life. Many of his brief aphoristic essays wove themselves around what Cioran considered a paradox, at …

Welcome to the month of June with a poem by Claude McKay and a painting by Ana Maria Edulescu

A Memory of June by Claude McKay When June comes dancing o'er the death of May, With scarlet roses tinting her green breast, And mating thrushes ushering in her day, And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest, I always see the evening when we met-- The first of June baptized in tender rain-- And …

Also Today in Literary History – French anti-war writer Henri Barbuse is born in 1873 – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Henri Barbusse, the French novelist and war hero turned pacifist, was born on May 17, 1873. His father was French and his mother was English. He was a well known poet and journalist in Paris literary circles before World War I. Barbusse was 41 and in poor health when war broke out in 1914 but …

Also On This Day in Literary History – From Bookworm Norm 2018 – April 27, 1932 – poet Hart Crane dies

American poet Hart Crane died by suicide on April 27, 1932, at the age of thirty-two. He was on a ship returning to New York from Mexico when he threw himself overboard in the Gulf of Mexico. His body was never recovered. Crane grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, the only son of parents who fought …

Today in Literary History – April 27, 1898 – Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the “Madeleine” books, is born

Ludwig Bemelmans, the author and illustrator of the beloved children's book series Madeleine, was born on April 27, 1898 in what was then a western part of Tyrol in the Austro-Hungarian Empire but is now in Italy. He published the first of the Madeleine books, charming stories told in rhyme about a precocious Parisian orphan, …

Welcome to the month of March, with a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “A March Snow”

A March Snow by Ella Wheeler Wilcox Let the old snow be covered with the new: The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden. Let it be hidden wholly from our view By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden. When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring's feet Let him be mantled in …

Today in Literary History – February 21, 1962 – novelist and essayist David Foster Wallace is born

David Foster Wallace, the innovative and highly influential novelist and essayist was born on February 21, 1962. Wallace died by suicide in 2008. In the aftermath of his death his critical and popular reputation saw an enormous spike. Lately it has taken a steep fall due in part to the reports of his misogynist behaviour. …

Welcome to February – Today, a hopeful poem by Jane Kenyon and a painting by Vincent van Gogh

February: Thinking of Flowers By Jane Kenyon Now wind torments the field, turning the white surface back on itself, back and back on itself, like an animal licking a wound. Nothing but white--the air, the light; only one brown milkweed pod bobbing in the gully, smallest brown boat on the immense tide. A single green …

Thought of the Day

"Language, in fact, is very far from logical. Its development is determined, not by neat and obvious rules, but by a polyhedron of disparate and often sharply conflicting forces—the influence of the schoolma’am, imitation (often involving misunderstanding), the lazy desire for simplicity and ease, and sheer wantonness and imbecility." —H.L. Mencken

Diana Athill – December 21, 1917 – January 23, 2019 – editor, novelist and memoirist

Diana Athill, the editor, novelist and memoirist died this week at the age of 101. Here is a blog entry from Bookwom Norm on her 100th birthday on December 21, 2017.   Diana Athill, the literary editor, memoirist and novelist is celebrating her 100th birthday today. She was born on December 21, 1917, during the …

Today in Literary History – December 28, 1932 – Argentine novelist Manuel Puig is born

The Argentinian novelist and screenwriter Manuel Puig was born on December 28, 1932. Since his remote hometown had no high school Puig was sent to Buenos Aires at the age of 14 to study. In his childhood Puig had fallen in love with American movies and in the big city he became enthralled with European cinema. …