January 16: “There are strange things done in the midnight sun” begins The Cremation of Sam McGee, a poem every Canadian student knows by heart. Poet Robert W. Service, whose poems about the Arctic trails with their secret tales, is born in 1874 in Lancashire.

January 17: Two major birthdays today. Can’t determine who is more influential. Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston on this day in 1706 and in 1860, in Taganrog, Russia,  Anton Chekhov is born.

January 18: Irish writer Liam O’Flaherty, author of The Assassin, and 200 unemployed workers take over the Rotunda in Dublin on this day in 1922 and hold the building for four days before being forced to flee when shots are fired.

January 19: The strange but talented Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train)  is born in Fort Worth, Texas on this day in 1921 and lives the last years of her lives in Ticino, Switzerland.

January 20: Robert Frost reads The Gift Outright which begins “The land was ours before we were the land’s” on this day in 1961 for the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. It which was not the poem he intended to read. He had written a new poem for the occasion called Dedication which ends with the line: “A golden age of poetry and power Of which this noonday’s the beginning hour” but the ink was so faint that Frost, 87, couldn’t read the words.

January 21: William Shawn succeeds Harold Ross as The New Yorker’s editor on this day in 1952.

January 22: August Strindberg, playwright and author of what’s widely considered the first modern Swedish novel The Red Room is born on this day in 1849. The apartment where he lived the last years of his life has become a museum.


Leave a reply


Your email address will not be published.