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 writer, translator, synesthete, and guy-who-can-recite-pi-by-memory Daniel Tammet (1979).
Today is the anniversary of Bloody Sunday (1972), the day on which the British army shot 27 unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Northern Ireland.
It was on this day in 1845 that Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published, a poem that Abraham Lincoln memorized.
It was on this day in 1754 that the word "serendipity,” meaning "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for,” was first coined.
It's the birthday of Mozart (1756), who said, "Music, in even the most terrible situations, must never offend the ear but always remain a source of pleasure."
On this day in 1784, Ben Franklin wrote about his displeasure at the choice of bald eagle as the symbol of America, calling it a “Bird of bad moral Character.”
Today is the birthday of the late Etta James (Los Angeles, 1938). She recorded a version of “At Last” in 1960, and it remained her signature song throughout her life.
It’s the birthday of Edith Wharton (1862), who was the first woman to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, for her novel The Age of Innocence.
It was on this day in 1977 that the miniseries Roots premiered on ABC. Restaurants and shops cleared out while it was showing, and bars showed it on their TVs in order to keep customers there.
Today is the birthday of British Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788), who was called “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” by one of his many lovers.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, a national holiday that Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1983, following years of activists' petitions, conferences, and advocacy.
It’s the birthday of the late Susan Vreeland (1946), whose novels, such as “Girl in Hyacinth Blue,” intersected with alternate histories of art.
Today is the birthday of Edwidge Danticat (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1969), author of Krik? Krack! and the upcoming short story collection Everything Inside.
It’s the birthday of Rubén Darío (1867), a great poet in the Spanish-speaking world who is barely known to English speakers.
Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” premiered on this day in 1904. He had meant for it to be a comedy, and was annoyed that the director had presented it as a tragedy.