April 29: In 1945, Ezra Pound is turned over to the U.S. Army by Italians where he is imprisoned for several weeks in Genoa.

April 30: Henry David Thoreau accidentally sets fire to the woods he loves on this day in 1844 near Concord, Mass. burning 300 acres.

May 1: Drunk at a dinner for the Harvard junior class, Wallace Stevens passes out on this day in 1900. Fifty-five years later, after winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, he is offered a faculty position at Harvard.

May 2: Edna St. Vincent Millay’s manuscript Conversation at Midnight is destroyed on this day in 1936 after a fire breaks out on Sanibel Island, Fla. (Henry David Thoreau not responsible).

May 3: Dylan Thomas gives the first reading of Under Milk Wood at Harvard’s Fogg Museum on this day in 1953.

May 4: The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer’s first novel is published on this day in 1948.

May 5: Sinclair Lewis on this day in 1926 declines the Pulitzer Prize claiming prizes, like all titles, are “dangerous”. “The seeker for prizes tend to labor not for inherent excellence but for alien rewards; they tend to write this, or timorously to avoid writing that, in order to tickle the prejudices of a haphazard committee.” Four years later, Lewis accepts the Nobel Prize for Literature.

May 6: George Bernard Shaw, who was a major influence  on Sinclair Lewis, when asked whether he agreed with Lewis’ refusal about the Pulitzer Prize says on this day: “I don’t agree with anything.”

May 7: Son of a bank clerk and a rigidly religious mother, Robert Browning is born on this day in 1812.


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