The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – January 23, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is January 23rd, the 23rd day of the year 2024, with 343 days remaining.

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

William Shakespeare

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1930, Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet and playwright, was born. Walcott’s work, which explores the Caribbean cultural experience, won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. His most renowned work, Omeros, is an epic poem that draws deeply from both Caribbean history and the structure of ancient Greek epics.

Notable Birthdays:

John Hancock (January 23, 1737 – October 8, 1793), remembered primarily for his bold signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, also contributed to American history with his political writings and efforts during the American Revolutionary War.

Today’s Readings:

From Omeros by Derek Walcott: “I sang of quiet Achille, Afolabe’s son, / Who never ascended in an elevator, / Who had no passport, since the horizon needs none.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree. Blackwell’s autobiography and other writings have inspired numerous biographies and studies that discuss the barriers she broke in a male-dominated profession.

Poem of the Day:

“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski:

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.

You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

This poignant poem encourages finding beauty and moments of peace in a world often marked by tragedy and destruction, offering a resonant message of resilience and remembrance.

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Derek Walcott’s rich, allusive poetry, consider how you can draw from your own cultural heritage and personal experiences to enrich your writing. Integrating your unique background can add depth and authenticity to your work, providing readers with new perspectives and insights.

Have a reflective and inspiring day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your writing be a source of discovery and connection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.