Literary August

About ten years ago, while pretending to get computerized, I started collecting literary birthdays and publication dates for my stepdaughter, who was teaching high school English at the time. Cutting and pasting, editing and adding dates and so on, were supposed to help me learn word processing. Obviously, that is still a work in progress. And so is the calendar, which I’ve kept nibbling at all this time, though I’m not entirely sure why — as an obsessive way to avoid real work, perhaps. Along the way, I’ve also incorporated birthdays and such for songwriters and scientists, and bits of poems, proverbs, song lyrics, and quotes in some way associated with a certain month or season, at least in my mind. Someday, I may learn to upload relevant portraits and illustrations. Someday, proper layout and formatting, with quotes and poems nicely indented, authors’ names highlighted, days of the month in a larger font, and other glitzy features may even happen. A fully searchable data base for all this stuff would be great too, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m having fun adding Youtube videos though, with some good ones here if the links keep working. In fairness to readers I should wait until this is more presentable before posting it, but realistically I may never live that long! Ready or not, here’s what I’ve got.

– LLF, 26 December, 2011


… August, die she must,
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold …

– Francis Scott Key Maryland-born lawyer, poet; lyrics for “The Star-spangled Banner” 1779-1843
– Richard Henry Dana Massachusetts-born maritime attorney, writer; Two Years Before the Mast 1815-1882
– Herman Melville New York City-born writer; “Bartleby the Scrivener”, Moby Dick (1851) 1819-1891

– Anne Hébert French-Canadian novelist, poet, playwright, short-story writer 1916-2000
– Carter Brown [aka Allan Geoffrey Yates) London-born Australian mystery writer 1923-1985
– Walter Griffin Delaware-born poet; founded Atlanta Poets Workshop 1937-
– Hugh Seidman Brooklyn-born poet 1940-
– Jerry [Jerome John] Garcia San Francisco-born rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, Grateful Dead founding member 1942-1995

– Amy Friedman Cleveland-born Canadian novelist, journalist; Kick the Dog and Shoot the Cat 1952-
– Madison Smartt Bell Nashville-born novelist, short-story writer 1957-

– Ernest [Christopher] Dowson English poet, influenced by Latin erotic poetry, French aesthetes 1867-1900
– Irving Babbitt Ohio-born critic, teacher; leader New Humanism movement 1869-1933
– Romulo Gallegos Venezuelan novelist, president 1884-1969
– John F. [Francis] Kieran Bronx-born columnist, writer; a natural history of New York City 1892-1981
– James A. [Arthur] Baldwin Harlem-born novelist, playwright, essayist; Go Tell It On the Mountain (1953) 1924-1987

– Stephen Sandy Minneapolis-born poet, professor 1934-
– Mitchell Smith New York-born mystery, science fiction writer 1935-
– Isabel Allende Peru-born novelist, short story writer 1942-
– Beverly Coyle Miami-born novelist 1946-
– Bei Dao [aka Zhao Zhengkai] Beijing-born poet, now exiled, among few Chinese writers with an international audience 1949-

– The final installment of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations is published in1861.
– Rupert Brooke English World War I poet 1887-1915

– Ernie [Ernest Taylor] Pyle Indiana-born war correspondent 1900-1945
– P. D. [Phyllis Dorothy] James English mystery writer; Innocent Blood (1978), Adam Dalgleish series 1920-2014

– Hayden Carruth Connecticut-born poet, critic, novelist 19212008

– Lord Jim author Joseph Conrad dies in 1924.
– Leon [Marcus] Uris Baltimore-born historical novelist; Exodus (1958) 1924-2003
– Annette Sanford Texas-born romance novelist 1929-
– Marvin Bell New York City-born poet; Iowa Poet Laureate 1937-

– Diane Wakoski California-born imagist poet 1937-
– Walter Kirn Ohio-born writer, literary critic 1962-

– Percy Bysshe Shelley English Romantic poet 1792-1822

– Walter [Horatio] Pater English essayist, literary critic 1839-1894
– William Henry Hudson Argentina-born English naturalist, novelist; Green Mansions (1904) 1841-1922
– Knut Hamsun (born Knut Pedersen) Norwegian author; realistic rural novel Growth of the Soil (1917), 1920 Nobel 1859-1952
– Danish fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen dies in 1875.
– Robert Hayden Detroit-born poet 1913-1980

– Assia Djebar (born Asa Bundy Sheffey) Algerian-born US novelist, translator, poet, playwright, short-story writer, filmmaker 1936-

– Guy de Maupassant French short story writer 1850-1893

– Conrad Aiken Savanna-born novelist, poet; 1930 Pulitzer 1899-1973

– Per [Fredrik] Wahlöö Swedish writer, journalist; with wife Maj Sjöwall, he wrote detective Martin Beck novels 1926-1975
– Wendell Berry Kentucky-born rural conservationist, poet 1934-

Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer’s queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear.

– R. Combe Miller

– Francois Fenelon French theologian, poet 1651-1715
– Alfred Tennyson English poet; poem cycle Idylls of the King, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854) 1809-1892

– Paul [Louis Charles Marie] Claudel French poet, playwright, essayist, diplomat; focused on his Catholic conversion 1868-1955
– Scott Nearing Pennsylvania-born economist, pacifist, activist, author 1883-1983
– Norma [Holzmann] Farber Boston-born children’s author; 1976 NBA for As I Was Crossing the Boston Common 1909-1984
– Janet Asimov Pennsylvania-born science columnist, editor 1926-
– Piers Anthony British-born US science fiction, fantasy writer; Xanth series 1934-

– Georg Stiernhielm Swedish linguist, poet; Father of Swedish Poetry 1598-1672
– Larry [Laurence Joel] Eigner Massachusetts-born prolific poet, short story writer 1927-1996
– Garrison [Gary Edward] Keillor Minnesota-born writer, radio host of A Prairie Home Companion; Lake Woebegone Days 1942-

– Sara Teasdale St. Louis-born poet 1884-1933

– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Florida-born writer; The Yearling 1896-1953

– A US Court of Appeals rules that James Joyce’s novel Ulysses cannot be banned or confiscated (for obscenity) in 1934.
– Valerie Sayers South Carolina-born comic novelist 1952-
– Elizabeth Ann Tallent Washington DC-born short-story writer, novelist 1954-

– Izaak Walton English writer; The Compleat Angler 1593-1683
– John Dryden English poet 1631-1700 [old calendar birth date]
– Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is published in 1854.

– Philip [Arthur] Larkin English poet 1922-1985

– Daniel Keyes Brooklyn-born science fiction writer; Hugo for “Flowers for Algernon” (1959), 1966 Nebula for extended novel version 1927-

– Jonathan Kellerman New York City-born mystery writer 1949-
– Jeanne Larsen Washington DC-born novelist; uses historical Chinese settings 1950-
– German Novelist Hermann Hesse dies in 1962.

– [Robert] Lawrence Binyon English poet, playwright 1869-1943
– [Harold] Witter Bynner Brooklyn-born poet, playwright, translator 1881-1968
– Jorge Amado Brazilian novelist 1912-2001
– Bloomsbury Group founding members Leonard and Virginia Woolf marry in 1912.

To go by the asters
and breathe
the sweetness that hovers
in August about the tall milkweeds,,
without a direct look …

– Denise Levertov

– Charlotte Mary Yonge English prolific novelist 1823-1901
– Hugh MacDiarmid (born Christopher Murray Grieve) Scottish poet 1892-1978
– Enid Blyton British prolific children’s writer 1897-1968
– Louise Bogan Maine-born poet 1897-1970
– Angus Wilson English writer 1913-1991
– Alex [Murray Palmer] Haley New York-born biographer, scriptwriter, novelist; Roots 1921-1992
– Carl [Thomas] Rowan Tennessee-born journalist, columnist, biographer 1925-2000
– Andre Dubus Louisiana-born short story writer 1936-1999
– Joe [David Ian] Jackson English pop musician, songwriter; “Stepping Out” 1954-

– Robert Southey English poet, biographer 1774-1843
– English poet and painter William Blake dies in 1827.

– Katharine Lee Bates Massachusetts-born poet, songwriter; lyrics for “America the Beautiful” 1859-1929

– Jacinto Benavente [y Martinez] Spanish dramatist; 1922 Nobel 1866-1954
– Edith Hamilton Germany-born US classical scholar, mythology writer 1867-1963
– Mary Roberts Rinehart Philadelphia-born playwright, mystery writer; The Circular Staircase 1876-1958
– Frank [Arthur] Swinnerton English novelist, literary critic 1884-1982
– Zerna Sharp Indiana-born teacher, writer; created Dick and Jane readers 1889-1981
– Wallace Markfield Brooklyn-born satirical novelist 1926-2002
– Buck [Alvis Edgar] Owens Texas-born country guitarist, singer, songwriter, TV host; “Act Naturally”, “Great White Horse” 1929-2006

– William Goldman Chicago-born novelist, screenwriter; Oscar for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) 1931-

– Walter Dean Myers West Virginia-born young adult novelist, picture book writer; Newbery for Scorpions (1988) 1937-
– Gail Parent New York City-born writer; Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1972), writer for The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1940-
– J. D. [Joseph Donald] McClatchy Pennsylvania-born poet, critic; Yale Review editor 1945-

– Nikolaus Lenau (born Nikolaus Niembsch von Strehlenau) HungarianAustrian German-language poet 1802-1850

– The first European secular printed book – by a German astrologer – is published in 1457.
– Letitia Elizabeth Landon (aka L.E.L.) English poet, novelist 1802-1838
– Two Years Before the Mast author Richard Henry Dana sets sail from Boston Harbor in 1834.
– Ernest T. [Thompson] Seton Scotland-born Canadian naturalist, nature writer 1860-1946
– John Galsworthy English novelist, playwright; 1932 Nobel, The Forsyte Saga (1906-1922) 1867-1933
– Russell [Wayne] Baker Virginia-born journalist, essayist; Pulitzers for New York Times column, memoir Growing Up (1982) 1925-
– William Kittredge Oregon-born Western writer 1932-
– David [Van Cortland] Crosby Los Angeles-born rock musician, singer, songwriter, Byrds and CSNY founding member; “Triad” 1941-

– Alfred Corn Georgia-born poet 1943-
– German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht dies in 1956.

– Scottish king Malcolm slays Macbeth, the historical basis for Shakespeare’s play, in 1057.
– Luigi Pulci Italian poet; epic Morgante 1432-1484
– Walter Scott Scottish novelist, poet; Waverley (1814), Ivanhoe (1820), manicured lyrics for ballad “Jock o’ Hazeldean” 1771-1832

– Thomas De Quincey English writer; Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822) 1785-1859
– Edna Ferber Michigan-born novelist; Pulitzer for So Big (1924), Giant, Show Boat, Saratoga Trunk 1887-1968
– T. E. [Thomas Edward] Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) Wales-born British soldier, writer 1888-1935
– Julia Child California-born food writer, ebullient TV chef; The French Chef 1912-2004

– Louise Shivers North Carolina-born novelist, librarian 1929-
– Norma Waterson Yorkshire-born English folk singer, songwriter 1939-
– Jimmy [James Layne] Webb Oklahoma-born singer, songwriter; By the Time I Get to Phoenix (1966), “Up, Up and Away” (1967) 1946-
– Garry Disher Australian-born US children’s writer; The Bamboo Flute 1949-
– Mary Jo Salter Michigan-born poet, editor 1954-
– The landmark Woodstock rock festival begins in upstate New York in 1969.

On Raglan Road, on an August day,
I saw her first, and knew
her long dark hair could weave a snare
that I might one day rue.
I saw the danger, yet I walked
along the enchanted way.
I said, let grief be a falling leaf,
at the dawning of the day.

– Patrick Kavanagh

– Jules Laforgue Uruguay-born French symbolist poet, short story writer 1860-1887 [death from tuberculosis]
– Hugo Gernsback Luxembourg-born US science fiction writer, publisher; Hugo Awards were named for him 1884-1967
– Georgette Heyer English pioneer Regency novelist 1902-1974
– Wallace Thurman Salt Lake City-born Harlem Renaissance novelist 1902-1934
– William Maxwell Illinois-born novelist, short story writer, New Yorker editor 1908-2000
– Beatrice Schenk de Regniers Indiana-born prolific children’s author; 1965 Caldecott 1914-2000
– Charles Bukowski Germany-born US poet 1920-1994

– Charlotte L. [Lottie] Forten Philadelphia-born poet, essayist, diarist; The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten (1953) 1837-1914 [birth year also given as 1838]
– Wilfrid Scawen Blunt English writer 1840-1922
– Marcus [Moziah] Garvey Jamaican essayist, editor, journalist, poet; founded back-to-Africa movement 1887-1940
– John Hawkes Connecticut-born poet, playwright, avant garde novelist 1925-1998
– Ted [Edward James] Hughes English poet 1930-1998

– V. S. [Vidiadhar Surajprasad] Naipaul Trinidad-born British novelist, essayist; 2001 Nobel 1932-

– French novelist Honoré de Balzac dies in 1850.
– Elsa Morante Italian novelist; La Storia 1916-1985
– Alain Robbe-Grillet French novelist, screenwriter, filmmaker 1922-2008
– Sonia Levitin Berlin-born US children’s author 1934-
– Paula Danziger Washington DC-born children’s author; The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Amber Brown series 1944-2004
– Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita is published in 1958.

– John Dryden English poet, dramatist, man of letters; first poet laureate 1631-1700 [new calender birth date]

– Samuel Richardson English publisher, novelist; Pamela (1740), Clarissa (1748) 1689-1761
– Charles Montagu Doughty English travel writer; Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888) 1843-1926
– Minna Canth Finnish novelist, dramatist 1844-1897
– E. [Edith] Nesbit British poet, children’s writer 1858-1924
– [Frederick] Ogden Nash New York-born light verse writer 1902-1971

– James Gould Cozzens Chicago-born novelist; Pulitzer for Guard of Honor (1948) 1903-1978
– Josephine Jacobsen Canadian poet, literary critic 1908-2003
– Ring Lardner, Jr. Chicago-born screenwriter, journalist; son of well-known humorist, one of the “Hollywood Ten” blacklisted as a Communist by major studios 1915-2000
– Gene [Eugene Wesley] Roddenberry Texas-born television producer, author; created Star Trek series 1921-1991

– John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost is published in 1667.
– Edgar A. [Albert] Guest English-born US poet, journalist 1881-1959

– H. P. [Howard Phillips] Lovecraft Rhode Island-born Gothic-supernatural novelist 1890-1937
– Salvatore Quasimodo Italian poet, critic, translator; 1959 Nobel 1901-1968
– Jacqueline Susann Philadelphia-born popular novelist; Valley of the Dolls 1921-1974
– Sue Alexander Arizona-born children’s author; Nadia the Willful 1933-2008
– Lionel G. Garcia Texas-born novelist, playwright, short story writer 1935-
– Heather McHugh California-born poet 1948-
– Robert [Anthony] Plant English rock singer, songwriter, Led Zeppelin founding member; “Stairway to Heaven”, “Immigrant’s Song” 1948

– Kevin Baker New Jersey-born journalist, historical novelist; Paradise Alley (2002) 1958-
– Deidre Madden Irish novelist; Rooney Prize for first book, Hidden Symptoms 1960-

The pleasure of jogging and running is rather like that of wearing a fur coat in Texas in August: the true joy comes in being able to take the damn thing off.

– Joseph Epstein

– Christopher Robin’s birthday! Winnie the Poo author A. A. Milne’s son is born in 1920.
– X. J. Kennedy (born Joseph Charles Kennedy) New Jersey-born poet, translator 1929-

– Gennady Nikolaevich Aygi Chuvash-born Russian poet 1934-2006
– Mart Crowley Mississippi-born playwright; Boys in the Band 1935-
– Robert Stone Brooklyn-born novelist; NBA for Dog Soldiers (1974) 1937-
– Joe Strummer (born John Graham Mellor) Turkey-born English punk-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, Clash founding member 1952-2002

– Dorothy Parker New Jersey-born short story writer, poet, critic and wit 1893-1967

– Ray [Raymond Douglas] Bradbury Illinois-born science fiction Writer; The Martian Chronicles (1950), Fahrenheit 451 (1953) 1920-2012

– John [Edward] Williams Texas-born professor, editor, novelist; Stoner (1965), NBA for Augustus (1972) 1922-1994
– E. [Edna] Annie Proulx Connecticut-born novelist, short story writer; “Brokeback Mountain” 1935-

– Colm Tóibín Dublin-born novelist 1955-

– William Ernest Henley English poet, critic, editor; poem “Invictus” (1888) 1849-1903

– Edgar Lee Masters Kansas-born poet, playwright, novelist; Spoon River Anthology (1915) 1868-1950

– Malvina Reynolds San Francisco-born folk singer, songwriter, activist; “Little Boxes” 1900-1978

– J. V. [James Vincent] Cunningham Maryland-born poet, critic 1911-1985
– Norbert Blei Chicago-born essayist, poet 1935-
– Robert [Graham] Irwin British historian, novelist; comic novel The Limits of Vision (1986) 1946-
– Willy Russell English playwright; Shirley Valentine, Educating Rita 1947-
– Linda Thompson English folk/pop singer, songwriter; “Telling Me Lies” 1947-

– Melanie Rae Thon Montana-born novelist, short story writer 1957-
– Eliza Carthy English folk musician, singer, songwriter; daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson 1975-

– Robert Herrick London-born poet 1591-1674 [baptismal date]

– Max Beerbohm English essayist, novelist, caricaturist, critic, wit 1872-1956
– Jean Rhys [aka Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams] London -born Dominica novelist 1890-1979
– Jorge Luis Borges Buenos Aires-born Argentine fiction writer, essayist 1899-1986
– Howard Zinn. Brooklyn-born political activist, historian; A People’s History of the United States (1980), memoir You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994) 1922-2010

– A.S. Byatt [born Antonia Susan Drabble] English novelist; Booker Prize for Possession: A Romance (1990) 1936-

– [Francis] Bret Hart New York-born journalist, editor, poet; noted for humor, western settings 1839-1902
– Brian Moore Belfast-born novelist 1921-1999
– Charles Wright Tennessee-born poet; Pulitzer for poetry collection Black Zodiac 1935-
– Charles Ghigna [aka Father Goose] Queens-born poet, children’s author 1946-
– Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus) London-born rock musician, songwriter; “Alison”, “Less Than Zero”, co-wrote “Veronica” with Paul McCartney 1954-

– Breakfast at Tiffany’s author Truman Capote dies in 1984.

If August passes
and the frosts come,
will I have learned to rejoice enough
in the sober wonder of
green healthy leaves?

– Denise Levertov

– Ralph Waldo Emerson meets Thomas Carlyle in 1838.
– John Buchan Scottish adventure novelist; The 39 Steps 1875-1940

– Guillaume Apollinaire Rome-born French avant-garde poet, critic 1880-1918
– Earl Biggers Ohio-born novelist, playwright;Charlie Chan stories 1884-1933
– Jules Romains French novelist, dramatist, poet 1885-1972
– Christopher Isherwood English novelist, playwright; his Berlin Stories were basis for musical Cabaret 1904-1986
– Julio Cortázar Brussels-born Argentine novelist, poet 1914-1984
– Elizabeth [Winifred] Brewster New Brunswick-born prolific novelist, short-story writer, poet 1922-
– Barbara Ehrenreich Montana-born political journalist, essayist, historian 1941-

– Tom Stoppard’s tragic-comedy Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead premieres at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe in 1966.

– Confucius [aka K’ung-fu-tzu] Chinese philosopher, writer; the Analects 551-479 BCE
– Theodore Dreiser Indiana-born journalist, novelist; Sister Carrie (1900), An American Tragedy (1925) 1871-1945

– C. S. [Cecil Scott] Forester English novelist; Captain Horatio Hornblower series 1899-1966

– Ira Levin Bronx-born novelist; A Kiss Before Dying (1954), Rosemary’s Baby (1967) 1929-2007
– Antonia Fraser British novelist, historian, biographer 1932-
– William Least Heat Moon [ born William Lewis Trogdon] Kansas City-born author; Blue Highways 1939-

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German dramatist, poet, novelist; Faust (1770, 1831) 1749-1832

– Leo Tolstoy Russian novelist; War and Peace, Anna Karenina 1828-1910 [old calender birth date]
– Liam O’Flaherty Galway-born Irish Renaissance novelist, short-story writer; The Informer (1925) 1896-1984
– Malcolm Cowley Pennsylvania-born literary critic, historian, editor, poet, essayist 1898-1989
– Bruno Bettelheim Vienna-born US sociologist, writer 1903-1990
– John Betjeman English poet, writer, broadcaster 1906-1984
– Janet Frame New Zealand novelist 1924-2004
– Rita Dove Ohio-born poet; 1987 Pulitzer 1952-

– John Locke English political theorist; influenced US founding fathers 1632-1704
– Charles Grandison Finney Connecticut-born theologian, revivalist, social reformer, author 1792-1875
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Massachusetts-born physician, essayist, poet, novelist; co-founder Atlantic Monthly magazine; his poem “Old Ironsides” (1830) helped save the historic warship Constitution 1809-1894
– Anna Ella Carroll Maryland-born political writer; Lincoln’s “War Powers of the President” 1815-1894
– Maurice Maeterlinck Belgian French-language poet; 1911 Nobel 1862-1949
– Valery [Nicolas] Larbaud French novelist, translator 1881-1957
– Preston Sturges Chicago-born screenwriter, director, playwright 1898-1959
– Thom [Thompson William] Gunn English poet 1929-2004
– Sue Harrison Michigan-born novelist; Native American trilogy 1950-

– Mary [Wollstonecraft Godwin] Shelley English writer; Frankenstein 1797-1851
– Elizabeth Longford British biographer 1906-2002
– Molly [Mary Tyler] Ivins Texas-born journalist, political columnist; Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America (2003), Who Let the Dogs In? (2004), Bill of Wrongs: … (2007) 1944-2007

– Irish poet and Nobelist Seamus Heaney dies in 2013.

– [Pierre Jules] Théophile Gautier French romantic poet, novelist, critic, travel book writer 1811-1872
– [Edwin] DuBose Heyward South Carolina-born novelist; Porgy [basis for Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”] 1885-1940
– William Shawn Chicago -born editor; New Yorker editor (1952-1987) 1907-1992
– William Saroyan California-born novelist, playwright 1908-1981
– Alan Jay Lerner New York City-born Broadway lyricist; Brigadoon (1947), My Fair Lady (1956), Camelot (1960) 1918-1986

– Van [George Ivan] Morrison Irish rock singer, musician, songwriter; “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Moondance”, “Into the Mystic” 1945-

I saw the spiders marching through the air,
Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day
In latter August when the hay
Came creaking to the barn.

– Robert Lowell


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