The Writer's Almanac
Summary: The Writer's Almanac is a daily podcast of poetry and historical interest pieces, usually of literary significance, hosted by Garrison Keillor.
It's the birthday of J.D. Salinger (New York, 1919), who famously despised being a celebrity and opted to be a recluse until his death in 2010.
It’s the birthday of artist Henri Matisse (1869), who called his late-life collage technique “painting with scissors.”
It’s the birthday of poet, memoirist, and punk rock icon Patti Smith, whose 1975 album Horses begins: “Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.”
On this day in 1890, US federal soldiers massacred 300 native men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
It’s the birthday of the late Stan Lee, who wrote comic book characters who were “fallible and feisty” as opposed to perfect.
It’s the birthday of Chris Abani, who at age 17 was jailed by the Nigerian government for writing a novel that supposedly inspired an attempted coup.
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, an African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday first celebrated in 1966.
On this day in 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft returned to a course for Earth after orbiting the moon 10 times over 20 hours.
It's the birthday of Dana Gioia, whose 99 Poems: New & Selected (2016) won the 2018 Poets’ Prize, an award for the best book of verse by a living American poet.
On this day in 1823, a poem entitled “A Visit from St. Nicholas”—which begins “’Twas the night before Christmas…”—was anonymously published in the Troy Sentinel in New York City.
It’s the birthday of composer Giacomo Puccini (1858), who created some of the most popular operas of all time including La bohème and Tosca.
On this day in 1937, Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in Los Angeles, California. It was the first feature-length cartoon and the first to be produced in the new Technicolor.
It’s the birthday of Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne (1865), who turned down marriage proposals from poet William Butler Yeats several times over the course of their lifelong friendship.
It’s the birthday of French singer Édith Piaf (1915), who was nicknamed “the little sparrow” for her height—she was under 4’10” tall.
It was on this day in 1892 that the Nutcracker ballet premiered at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.