Author, poet and King of the Macabre Edgar Allan Poe was born on this day (Jan. 19) 205 years ago. Poe’s life was full of loss: By 3, he had lost both his parents; by 25, he had lost both his foster parents; and by 40, he had lost his beloved wife, Virginia. (Not to be all dark and dreary on his birthday, but this is Poe we’re talking about.)

His poem “Annabel Lee,” one of my favorites, was discovered after his death in 1849: 

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

 (Image via Wikipedia)

“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” ― The House at Pooh Corner

A.A. Milne was born on Jan 18, 1882! Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, until verses he originally wrote for his son Christopher Robin grew into the beloved classics starring his toy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. 

Today we celebrate the 110th birthday of the wonderful, imaginative, man who was Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to scores of children, parents, teachers, and librarians as Dr. Seuss.  (His birthday was actually yesterday but our Tumblr librarians were not at work….so today we celebrate!)  

The wit, wisdom, and whimsy of his books have brought joy to countless and for that, and lots of other things, we say with heartfelt enthusiasm, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

For some little known facts about the man, check out this great article from Flavorwire, then go eat some green eggs and ham.


Adrienne Rich

Born on this date, May 16 in 1929 in Baltimore, MD, Adrienne Rich was a U.S. poet, scholar and critic. She was a college student when her poems were chosen for publication. Rich’s increasing commitment to the women’s movement influenced much of her work. She also wrote compelling books of nonfiction.

Born in 1929, Rich grew up in Baltimore as the daughter of a doctor and a concert pianist. She started writing poetry as a child with much encouragement from her father. In 1951, Rich published her first collection, A Change of World. She graduated from Radcliffe College that same year with a degree in English.

Two years later, Rich married an economics professor Alfred Conrad. The couple soon started a family that would grow to include three boys. The talented writer struggled with the traditional expectations of being a wife and mother, and this internal conflict found its way into her work. With her poems, Rich examined and challenged social norms and the imbalance of power between men and women. She also fought against the Vietnam War and for civil rights.

Rich published an essay collection, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, in 1976, which gave voice to many women’s issues surrounding parenthood and marriage. 

Rich died on March 27, 2012, at her home in Santa Cruz, California, from complications related to her rheumatoid arthritis. She had suffered from the condition most of her life. Rich was 82 years old.

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