The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – April 29, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is April 29th, the 119th day of the year 2024, with 247 days remaining.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

William Wordsworth

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1863, William Randolph Hearst, an influential American newspaper publisher whose methods profoundly shaped American journalism, was born. His approach, often called “yellow journalism,” emphasized sensationalism over facts, a concept that has both criticized and analyzed within various literary and journalistic studies.

Notable Birthdays:

  • Yusef Komunyakaa (born April 29, 1947), an American poet known for his jazz-influenced, terse, and emotionally dense poetry, celebrates his birthday today. His works often delve into his experiences as an African American growing up in the South and his service in the Vietnam War, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Henri Poincaré (April 29, 1854-July 17, 1912), a French mathematician, theoretical physicist, and philosopher of science, was also born on this day. While not a literary figure, Poincaré’s ideas about mathematics and science have influenced philosophical and literary discussions about the nature of truth and reality.

Today’s Readings:

From Neon Vernacular by Yusef Komunyakaa: “My black face fades, hiding inside the black granite. I said I wouldn’t, dammit: No tears. I’m stone. I’m flesh.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four Los Angeles policemen in the beating of Rodney King led to widespread riots. The event and its subsequent coverage have inspired numerous works in literature and film, examining themes of justice, media portrayal, and societal reaction.


As April wanes, let us reflect on the interplay of truth and perception in both the news we consume and the stories we tell. Whether through the lens of sensational journalism or the poignant clarity of poetry, our understanding of the world is deeply influenced by the narratives we choose to believe and share.

Poem of the Day:

“The Tables Turned” by William Wordsworth:

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Yusef Komunyakaa, embrace the power of your personal experiences in your writing. Let your unique voice and perspective inform your narratives, and remember that authenticity often resonates more deeply than the most elaborate fiction.

Have a thoughtful and creative day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your own reflections bring both wisdom and inspiration.


  • Christopher

    I was lucky enough to meet Yusef Komunyakaa at a reading once; he gave a very thought-provoking talk on Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily” and what Southern literature says about American history. Considering the horrific beating of Rodney King alongside his work, which deals with so many facets of race and history, is just as thought-provoking.

    • Thomas Slatin

      That certainly sounds like a compelling journey in your life. I had the unique opportunity to be acquainted with Charles Kuralt, the renowned host of “Sunday Morning,” and the legendary poet Allen Ginsberg through family friends.

      Charles Kuralt once predicted my future in writing, in contrast to my father’s expectations. Born female, I was raised by my father in the hopes that I would adopt more traditionally masculine roles. He named me Thomas and steered me away from writing, considering it too gentle for his, “son”.

      Regardless, I lived my entire life as a girl, and this upbringing influenced my eventual career in the fire department. Ironically, and much to my father’s dismay, Allen Ginsberg later became a personal mentor to me. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience!

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