Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When O when will we ever learn?

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GAY WISDOM for Daily Living...

from White Crane a magazine exploring
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September 29

2006 – Yet another closeted and hypocritical Republican U.S. Representative, Mark Foley resigns after sending inappropriate emails to male house pages. When O when will they ever learn? Now he has his own radio show. When O when will we ever learn?

1967 – CARSON MCCULLERS, American author died (b. 1917) an American writer. She wrote fiction that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South. In 1935 she moved to North Carolina, and in 1937 she married a soldier and struggling writer, Reeves McCullers (both were bisexual). There she wrote her first novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, in the Southern Gothic tradition. The title, suggested by McCullers's editor, was taken from Fiona MacLeod's poem 'The Lonely Hunter'. The novel itself was interpreted as an anti-fascist book. Altogether she published only eight books. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), written at the age of 23, and Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), are the most well-known. The novella The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951) also depicts loneliness and the pain of unrequited love. She was an alumna of Yaddo in Saratoga, New York.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was filmed in 1958 with Alan Arkin in the lead role. Reflections in a Golden Eye was directed by John Huston (1967), starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. "I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York," said Huston in An Open Book (1980). "Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of a series of strokes. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn't palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her afflictions multiplied, she only grew stronger."

McCullers's marriage was unsuccessful, with both parties having homosexual relationships; McCullers and Reeves separated in 1940 and divorced in 1941. After she separated from Reeves, she moved to New York to live with George Davis, the editor of Harper's Bazaar. In Brooklyn, McCullers became a member of the art commune February House. Among their friends were W.H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, and Paul and Jane Bowles. After WWII, McCullers lived mostly in Paris. Her close friends during these years included Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.

In 1945, McCullers and Reeves remarried. Three years later, she attempted suicide while depressed. In 1953, Reeves tried to convince McCullers to commit suicide with him, but she fled. After McCullers left him, Reeves killed himself in their Paris hotel with an overdose of sleeping pills. McCullers's bittersweet play, The Square Root of Wonder (1957), was an attempt to examine these traumatic experiences. The Member of the Wedding (1946) describes the feelings of a young girl at her brother's wedding. The Broadway production of the novel had a successful run in 1950–51 and was produced by the Young Vic in London in September 2007.

McCullers suffered throughout her life from several illnesses and from alcoholism — she had contracted rheumatic fever at the age of 15 and suffered from strokes since her youth. By the age of 31, her left side was entirely paralyzed. She died in Nyack, NY, on September 29, 1967, after a stroke and a resultant brain hemorrhage. McCullers dictated her unfinished autobiography, Illumination and Night Glare (1999), during her final months.

1973 — W.H. AUDEN, English poet (b. 1907) Anglo-American poet, regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form, and content. The central themes of his poetry are: personal love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.

He was also a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological, and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays, and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential. After his death some of his poems, notably "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks") and "September 1, 1939", became widely known through films, broadcasts, and popular media.

Auden's first school was St. Edmund's School, Surrey, where he met future novelist, Christopher Isherwood. At thirteen he went to Gresham's School in Norfolk, where, in 1922, his friend Robert Medley first suggested that he might write poetry. In the same year he "discover[ed] that he has lost his faith" (through a gradual realization that he had lost interest in religion, not through any decisive change of views). His first poems appeared in the school magazine in 1923.

On returning to Britain in 1929, he worked briefly as a tutor. In 1930 his first published book, Poems (1930), was accepted by T.S. Eliot for Faber and Faber; the firm also published all his later books. In 1930 he began five years as a schoolmaster in boys' schools: two years at the Larchfield Academy, in Helensburgh, Scotland, then three years at the The Downs School, near Malvern, Worcestershire, where he was a much-loved teacher. At the Downs, in June 1933, he experienced what he later described as a "Vision of Agape," when, while sitting with three fellow-teachers at the school, he suddenly found that he loved them for themselves, that their existence had infinite value for him; this experience, he said, later influenced his decision to return to the Anglican Church in 1940.

During these years, Auden's erotic interests focused, as he later said, on an idealized "Alter Ego" rather than on individual persons. His relations (and his unsuccessful courtships) tended to be unequal either in age or intelligence; his sexual relations were transient, although some evolved into long friendships. He contrasted these relations with what he regarded as the "marriage" (his word) of equals that he began with Chester Kallman in 1939 (see below), based on the unique individuality of both partners.

Auden and Isherwood sailed to New York in January 1939, entering on temporary visas. Their departure from Britain was later seen by many there as a betrayal and Auden's reputation suffered. In April 1939 Isherwood moved to California, and he and Auden saw each other only intermittently in later years. Around this time, Auden met an eighteen-year old poet Chester Kallman, who became his lover for the next two years (Auden described their relation as a "marriage" that began with a cross-country "honeymoon" journey). He and Kallman remained companions for the rest of Auden's life, sharing houses and apartments from 1953 until Auden's death. Auden dedicated both editions of his collected poetry (1945/50 and 1966) to Isherwood and Kallman.

In 1940-41, Auden lived in a house in Brooklyn Heights that he shared with Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and others, and which became a famous center of artistic life. In 1940, he joined the Episcopal Church, returning to the Anglican Communion he had abandoned at 13. His reconversion was influenced partly by what he called the "sainthood" of Charles Williams, whom he had met in 1937, partly by reading Søren Kierkegaard and Reinhold Niebuhr; his existential, this-worldly Christianity became a central element in his life.

His theology in his later years evolved from a highly inward and psychologically oriented Protestantism in the early 1940s to a more Roman Catholic-oriented interest in the significance of the body and in collective ritual in the later 1940s and 1950s, and finally to the theology of Dietrick Bonhoeffer which rejected "childish" conceptions of God for an adult religion that focused on the significance of human suffering. In 1972, he moved his winter home from New York to Oxford, where his old college, Christ Church, offered him a cottage, but he continued to summer in Austria. He died in Vienna in 1973 and was buried in Kirchstetten.

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Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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