Literary September

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


April come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain;

May, she will stay,
Resting in my arms again

June, she’ll change her tune,
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night;

July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight.

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

September I’ll remember.
A love once new has now grown old.

-Paul Simon

– Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral is published, the first poetry by an African-American to be printed in 1773.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs Chicago-born fantasy writer; Tarzan, The Land that Time Forgot 1875-1950
– Blaise Cendrars Swiss-born French novelist, poet 1887-1961
– Rosa Guy Trinidad-born US novelist, children’s author, playwright, short story writer 1925-1982
– C. J. Cherryh (born Carolyn Janice Cherry) St. Louis-born science fiction/fantasy writer; Rimrunners (1989), Chanur series, Foreigner series; Hugos for Downbelow Station (1981), Cyteen (1988) 1942-

– Ernest Hemingway’s terse novel The Old Man and the Sea is published in 1952.

– Eugene Field Missouri-born poet, journalist; children’s poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” 1850-1895
– Joseph Roth Austrian journalist, novelist 1894-1939
– Allen Drury Texas-born political novelist; Pulitzer for Advise and Consent 1918-1998
– Eugene O’Neill’s play The Iceman Cometh opens on Broadway in 1946.
– Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien dies in 1973.

– Sarah Orne Jewett Maine-born novelist 1849-1909
– Eduardo [Hughes] Galeano Uruguayan journalist, editor, novelist; Open Veins of Latin America (1971), Memoria del Fuego – Memory of Fire trilogy (1982-1986) 1940-2015
– Poet E. E. Cummings dies in 1962.

– [Francois René de] Chateaubriand French writer, statesman; initiated Romantic movement in France 1768-1848
– Paul Osborn Indiana-born playwright, screenwriter; adapted East of Eden, South Pacific 1901-1988
– Mary Renault (born Eileen Mary Challans) English historical novelist, books set in ancient Greece 1905-1983
– Richard [Nathaniel] Wright Mississippi-born novelist; Native Son (1940), Black Boy (1945) 1908-1960

– Syd Hoff Bronx-born cartoonist, children’s author 1912-2004
– Craig Claiborne Mississippi-born food writer 1920-2000
– Maggie [Marguerite] Higgins Hong Kong-born US journalist, war correspondent; Our Vietnam Nightmare (1965), first woman to receive Pulitzer for international reporting (1951) 1920-1966 [died from a tropical disease contracted while covering the Vietnam War]
– Joan Aiken English children’s author; poet Conrad Aiken’s daughter 1924-2004

– Arthur Koestler Hungarian-born British novelist, essayist 1905-1983
– Frank [Garvin] Yerby Georgia-born prolific novelist 1916-1991
– Ward Just Indiana-born journalist, novelist; focus on Vietnam War 1935-
– Loudon Wainwright III North Carolina-born actor, folk singer, songwriter; “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” 1946-

– Paul Fleischman California-born children’s author 1952-
– Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road is published in 1957.
– Boris Pasternak’s novel Dr. Zhivago is published in the United States in 1958.

September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.

– Alexander Theroux

– Jane Addams Illinois-born pioneering social reformer, peace activist; Twenty Years at Hull-House” (1919) 1860-1935
– Robert [Maynard] Pirsig Minnesota-born philosopher, writer; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) 1928-

– Georges Louis Leclerc French naturalist, writer 1707-1788
– Elinor [Morton] Wylie New Jersey-born poet, novelist 1885-1928
– Edith Sitwell English poet, eccentric 1887-1964

– Taylor Caldwell English-born US novelist 1900-1985
– Buddy Holly (born Charles Hardin Holley) Texas-born rock singer, songwriter; “That’ll Be the Day” 1936-1959

– Martin Booth British poet, children’s writer, novelist, biographer1944-2004
– Joe Klein New York-born journalist, author; decent Woody Guthrie biography (1980), shabby political novel Primary Colors (1996) 1946-
– Chrissy Hynde Ohio-born rock singer, songwriter, Pretenders founding member; “Middle of the Road” 1951-

– Luovico Ariosto Italian poet; Orlando Furioso 1474-1533
– Frederic Mistral Provencal French poet; 1904 Nobel 1830-1914
– Siegfried [Loraine] Sassoon English journalist, poet; poems of his World War I experiences 1886-1967

– Marilyn Durham Indiana-born novelist; The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing 1930-
– Ann Beattie Washington DC-born novelist, short story writer 1947-
– Aimee Mann Virginia-born alternative rock singer, songwriter, ‘Till Tuesday founding member 1960-

– Leo [Nikolaevich] Tolstoy Russian novelist; Anna Karenina, War and Peace 1828-1910 [new calender birth date]

– Bharatendu Harishchandra Indian poet, dramatist, Hindi theater pioneer 1850-1885
– Mary [Hunter] Austin Illinois-born feminist, nature writer of US Southwest 1868-1934
– James Hilton English novelist; Lost Horizon (1933), Goodbye Mr. Chips (1934) 1900-1954

– Sonia Sanchez (born Wilsonia Benite Driver) Alabama-born poet, playwright, children’s author, essayist; 1985 NBA for poems Homegirls & Handgrenades 1934-

– Otis Redding Georgia-born blues/soul singer, songwriter; “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” 1941-1967

I’ll never forget,
The first day I met her.
That September morning was clear and fresh.
The way she spoke,
And laughed at my jokes …

– Billy Bragg

– H.D. (aka Hilda Doolittle) Pennsylvania-born poet; leader of the imagist movement 1886-1961

– Georgia Douglas Johnson Georgia-born playwright, composer, poet 1886-1966
– Franz Werfel Austrian playwright, poet, novelist; Forty Days of Musa Dagh 1890-1945
– Mary Oliver Cleveland-born poet; Pulitzer 1935-

– Stephen Jay Gould New York City-born paleontologist, zoologist, essayist 1941-2002

– Andreï Makine Russian-born French novelist; Prix Goncourt, Prix Medicis for Dreams of My Russian Summers (1995) 1957-

– James Thomson Scottish poet, playwright; nature poem The Seasons, lyrics for “Rule, Brittania” 1700-1748
– O. Henry [born William Sydney Porter] North Carolina-born short story writer, noted for surprise endings;”The Gift of the Magi”, “The Ransom of Red Chief” 1862-1910
– D. H. [David Herbert] Lawrence English novelist, poet; Sons and Lovers (1913), Women in Love (1920), Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) 1885-1930

– Leon Rooke North Carolina-born Canadian writer, novelist 1934-

– English poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning elope in 1846.
– H. L. [Henry Louis] Mencken Baltimore-born newspaperman, editor, critic, curmudgeon 1880-1956

– Alfred A. [Abraham] Knopf New York City-born book publisher 1893-1984
– Stanislaw Lem Polish science fiction writer 1921-2006
– Kristin [Elaine] Hunter Philadelphia-born novelist, young adult author; realistic yet optimistic look at ghetto life 1931-2008
– [Philip] Michael Ondaatje Sri Lanka-born Canadian poet, novelist; Booker Prize for The English Patient (1992) 1942-

– Sherwood Anderson Ohio-born writer; Winesburg, Ohio (1919) 1876-1941
– Alain [Le Roy] Locke Philadelphia-born philosopher, Harlem Renaissance essayist, anthologist 1886-1954
– J. B. [John Boynton] Priestley English novelist1894-1984
– John Malcolm Brinnin Nova Scotia-born US poet, biographer 1916-1998
– Roald Dahl Wales-born horror, children’s writer; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) 1916-1990

– Else Holmelund Minarik Danish children’s author; the Little Bear series 1920-2012
– Adrienne Kennedy Pittsburgh-born playwright; surrealistic, often violent plays 1931-

That old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.

Wallace Stegner

– Italian poet Dante dies in 1321.
– Francis Scott Key writes the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner” after watching a fierce British bombardment of an American fort in 1814.

– [Hannibal] Hamlin Garland Wisconsin-born short-story writer, poet, novelist; Pulitzer, leading exponent of realism, which he called veritism 1860-1940
– Edith [Thacher] Hurd Missouri-born prolific children’s writer 1910-1997
– Ivan Klima Czech novelist, playwright; short stories My Golden Trades (1994) 1931-

– Kate [Katherine Murray] Millett Minnesota-born feminist activist, author; Sexual Politics 1934-
– Bernard MacLaverty Belfast-born novelist, scriptwriter; Grace Notes (1997) 1942-
– John [Lewis] Steptoe Brooklyn-born children’s writer, illustrator 1950-1989

– [Francoise, 6th duc de] La Rochefoucauld French writer, epigramist 1613-1680
– James Fenimore Cooper New Jersey-born social critic, historian, first major American novelist; The Leatherstocking Tales (1823-1827) 1789-1851
– Robert Benchley Massachusetts-born humorist, columnist, New Yorker essayist 1889-1945
– Agatha Christie English mystery writer extraordinaire; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), Murder on the Orient Express (1934) 1890-1977

– Claude McKay (born Festus Claudius McKay) Jamaica-born poet, novelist; major Harlem Renaissance writer 1890-1948

– [John] Robert McCloskey Ohio-born children’s author, illustrator; Caldecotts for: Make Way for Ducklings (1941), Time of Wonder (1957) 1914-2003
– Fawn [McKay] Brodie Utah-born academic, biographer; works on Thomas Jefferson, Mormon leader Joseph Smith, Richard Nixon 1915-1981
– Tomie [Thomas Anthony] DePaola Connecticut-born children’s author, illustrator 1934-
– [William] Oliver Stone New York City-born film director, screenwriter; Wall Street (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991), South of the Border (2009) 1946-

– The first US poet laureate Robert Penn Warren dies in 1989.

– Francis Parkman Boston-born historian; The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life (1847), 7-volume history France and England in North America 1823-1893
– Alfred Noyes English poet; “The Highwayman” 1880-1958

– Frans [Eemil] Sillanpaa Finnish writer; 1939 Nobel 1888-1964
– Samuel Spewack Ukraine-born US playwright, director; co-wrote with wife Bella Cohen 1899-1971
– B. B. [Riley B.] King Mississippi-born blues guitarist, songwriter; “The Thrill is Gone” 1925-2015

– John Knowles West Virginia-born novelist; A Separate Peace (1959) 19262001
– James Alan McPherson Georgia-born short story writer, essayist; Pulitzer for Elbow Room (1978) 1943-
– Henry Louis Gates, Jr. West Virginia-born literary critic, editor 1950-
– Chilean folksinger and activist Víctor Jara is one of many people tortured and killed in Santiago’s sports stadium by Pinochet’s forces following their coup d’etat in 1973.

– Abilio Manuel de Guerra Junqueiro Portuguese poet, playwright 1850-1923
– William Carlos Williams New Jersey-born physician, poet, essayist, playwright; Pulitzer for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1963) 1883-1963

– John Creasey [under many pseudonyms] English prolific science fiction, mystery writer 1908-1973
– Mary [Florence Elinor] Stewart English novelist; This Rough Magic (1963), Airs Above the Ground (1965), The Crystal Cave (1970) 1916-
– Hank Williams, Sr. Arkansas-born country singer, songwriter; “Jambalaya”, “Cold, Cold Heart” 1923-1953

– Ken [Kenneth Elton] Kesey Colorado-born novelist; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) 1935-2001

Oh, it’s a long, long while,
From May to December,
But the days grow short,
When you reach September.

– Maxwell Anderson

– Samuel Johnson English essayist, poet, critic, lexicographer; subject of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language (1755) 1709-1784
– The first edition of The New York Times is published in 1851.
– Noel Perrin New York-born essayist 1927-2004
– In 1970, innovative rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix dies in London from a drug overdose.

– Arthur Rackham London-born illustrator of many children’s fairytales, classics 1867-1939
– Bergen Evans US educator, author, lexicographer 1904-1978
– Mika Waltari Finnish historical novelist; The Egyptian (1945) 1908-1979
– William [Gerald] Golding English novelist; 1983 Nobel, Lord of the Flies (1954) 1911-1993

– Paulo Freire Brazilian educator, education theorist; Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) 1921-1997
– Mike [Michael] Royko Chicago-born journalist, political columnist; Richard Daley biography Boss (1971) 1932-1997
– Thomas H. Cook Alabama-born mystery novelist; Edgar for The Chatham School Affair (1996) 1947-

– Maxwell Perkins New York City-born Scribner’s editor, publisher of early Fitzgerald, Wolfe, Hemingway works 1874-1947
– Upton Sinclair Baltimore-born Novelist; Chicago stockyards expose The Jungle (1906) 1878-1968

– Donald Hall Connecticut-born poet, playwright, essayist 1928-
– Joseph O’Connor Irish novelist; Cowboys and Indians (1991), Star of the Sea (2002) 1963-

– Roman poet Virgil dies in 19 BCE.
– The earliest US daily newspaper, “Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser”, is first published in 1784.
– Ivanhoe author British novelist and poet Walter Scott dies in 1832.
– H. G. [Herbert George] Wells English writer; The Time Machine (1895), The War of the Worlds (1898) 1866-1946

– Leonard [Norman] Cohen Montreal-born poet, songwriter; “Suzanne”, “Everybody Knows” 1934-2016

– Fannie Flagg Alabama-born actress, novelist; Fried Green Tomatoes 1944-

– Stephen King Maine-born horror, suspense writer; The Stand (1978), The Shawshank Redemption 1947-

– Marsha Norman Kentucky-born playwright; Pulitzer for ‘night, Mother 1947-

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

– George Eliott

– [Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th] Earl of Chesterfield English statesman, writer, especially his letters 1694-1773
– Michael Faraday English experimental chemist, physicist; Experimental Researches in Electricity (1844) 1791-1867
– Fay Weldon English feminist, comic novelist 1933-
– 101-year-old songwriter Irving Berlin dies in New York in 1989.

– Euripides Athenian dramatist; The Trojan Women (415 BCE) 480-406 BCE [birth date uncertain]
– William [Holmes] McGuffy Pennsylvania-born educator, author; McGuffy’s Readers series 1800-1873
– Walter Lippman New York City-born journalist, political columnist 1889-1974
– Ray Charles [Robinson] Georgia-born soul pianist, singer, songwriter; “Georgia on my Mind” 1930-2004

– Eric Bogle Scotland-born folk singer, songwriter; “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, “No Man’s Land” 1944-

– Bruce Springsteen New Jersey-born rock musician, singer, songwriter; “Rosalita”, “Born to Run”, “Born in the USA” 1949-

– Horace Walpole English Whig politician, author 1717-1797
– Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Maryland-born novelist, short story writer, orator, popular poet 1825-1911
– F. [Francis] Scott [Key] Fitzgerald St. Paul, Minnesota-born novelist, short story writer; The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender is the Night (1934) 1896-1940

– [Woodrow] Wilson Rawls Oklahoma-born author; children’s classic Where the Red Fern Grows (1961)1913-1984
– Noel Coward’s comedy Private Lives opens in London in 1930.
– John Brunner English science fiction novelist; Hugo for Stand on Zanzibar (1968) 1934-1995
– Alexis Deveaux New York City-born novelist, dramatist, essayist, illustrator 1948-
– Green Eggs and Ham author childrens’ writer Dr. Seuss dies in 1991.

– The earliest newspaper in the British colonies, “Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick”, publishes its first (and last) editions in 1690.
– William [Harrison] Faulkner (born William Cuthbert Falkner) Mississippi-born novelist; The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), 1949 Nobel 1897-1962

– Shel [Sheldon Alan] Silverstein Chicago-born children’s author, poet, songwriter, cartoonist; poem “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout”; songs “The Unicorn”, “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” 1930-1999

– Ian Tyson Canadian folk singer, songwriter; “Four Strong Winds”, “Someday Soon” 1933-

– bell hooks (born Gloria Watkins) Kentucky-born educator, social critic, essayist 1952-

Try to remember, the kind of September
when life was slow, and oh so mellow
Try to remember, a kind of September
when grass was green, and grain was yellow

– Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt

– Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Indian “Bengal Renaissance” philosopher, publisher 1820-1890
– T. S. [Thomas Stearns] Eliot St. Louis-born British poet, dramatist, critic; “The Love Song of J. Alfred Proofrock”, The Waste-Land (1922), 1948 Nobel 1888-1965

– George Gershwin Brooklyn-born pianist, composer; “Rhapsody in Blue”, opera Porgy and Bess 1898-1937
Bryan Ferry English rock musician, singer, songwriter, Roxy Music founding member 1945-

– Jane Smiley Los-Angeles-born novelist; Pulitzer for A Thousand Acres (1991) 1949-
– Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, opens on Broadway in 1957.

– Grazia Deledda Sardinia-born Italian novelist; Ashes (1904), 1926 Nobel 1875-1936
– British writer Rudyard Kipling’s son John is killed in the World War I Battle of Loos in 1915.
– Louis [Stanton] Auchincloss New York-born attorney, writer; focus on our Eastern moneyed ruling class 1917-2010
– Josef Skvorecky Czech-born Canadian novelist, playwright, poet, publisher 1924-2012
– Joyce Johnson New York City-born writer; memoir of New York City Beat generation Minor Characters (1983) 1935-
– Mark Vinz North Dakota-born academic, poet 1942-

– Francis Turner Palgrave English poet, critic 1824-1897
– Kate Douglas Wiggins Maine-born novelist, children’s writer; Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903) 1856-1923
– James Edwin Campbell Ohio-born poet 1867-1897
– Moby Dick author Herman Melville dies in 1891.

– Elmer Rice New York City-born playwright; Pulitzer for Street Scene (1929) 1892-1967
– Ellis Peters (born Edith Mary Pargeter) English mystery novelist; Brother Cadfael series 1913-1995
– Víctor Jara (born Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez) Chilean poet, Marxist activist, nueva cancion/folk singer, songwriter; 1932-1973 [murdered by Pinochet’s soldiers after the coup]

– Miguel de Cervantes Spanish novelist, playwright, poet; Don Quixote (1605-1615) 1547-1616 [actual birth date unclear; baptism some days later]
– William Beckford English reclusive, eccentric novelist, travel book writer, architect; romance The History of the Caliph Vathek (1782) 1760-1844
– Elizabeth Cleghorn [Stevenson] Gaskell (aka Mrs. Gaskell) English popular Victorian novelist 1810-1865
– Jerry Lee Lewis Louisiana-born rock pianist, singer, songwriter1935-

– Poet W. H. Auden dies in 1973.

– The first Gutenberg Bible is published in Germany in 1452.
– On this date in 1659, the title character in Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe is shipwrecked and marooned on a deserted island.
– The First volume of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is published in 1868.

– Michael Innis (born John Innes Mackintosh Stewart) Edinburgh-born academic, mystery writer; Inspector John Appleby series 1906-1994
– Truman Capote [Persons] New Orleans-born short story writer, novelist; Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), In Cold Blood (1966) 1924-1984

Half-opening her lips to the frost’s morning sigh, how strangely the rose has smiled on a swift-fleeting day of September!
How audacious it is to advance in stately manner before the blue-tit fluttering in the shrubs that have long lost their leaves,
Like a queen with the spring’s greeting on her lips; to bloom with steadfast hope that, parted from the cold flower-bed,
She may be the last to cling, intoxicated, to a young hostess’s breast.

– Afanasi Fet


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