The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – June 7, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is June 7th, the 159th day of the year 2024, with 207 days remaining.

Each moment is a place you’ve never been.

Mark Strand

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1917, Gwendolyn Brooks, an influential American poet and teacher, was born. Brooks’ work is known for its insightful and poignant commentary on race, politics, and identity. Her narrative style and mastery of urban dialect brought to life the struggles and resilience of the African-American urban poor.

Notable Birthdays:

Nikki Giovanni, born on June 7, 1943, is a celebrated American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Known for her powerful calls for social justice, her poetry reflects both her own experiences and broader African-American heritage. Giovanni’s work is widely recognized for its beauty and powerful use of language to inspire both community and individual growth.

Today’s Readings:

From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: “Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On June 7th, 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, significantly impacting themes of privacy and human rights in literature. This case, which established the right of marital privacy concerning contraceptive use, has been explored in various literary works, highlighting the intersection of law and personal freedoms.

Poem of the Day:

“The Wild Swans at Coole” by W.B. Yeats:

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

This poignant poem by Yeats reflects on the passage of time, nature’s beauty, and the fleeting nature of life itself, echoing the sense of melancholy and reflection that often accompanies the poet’s work.

Advice for Writers:

Today, inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks’ focus on personal identity and community, consider how your own experiences and the environments you have known can deeply inform your writing. Explore how personal histories and societal contexts can be woven into narratives that speak not only to individual but also collective experiences.

Have a reflective and meaningful day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your journey through literature help you discover uncharted territories within and around you.


    • Thomas Slatin

      As a young girl, I confided in my mother that my dream was to live in the mountains, close to the water, when I grew up. Despite spending much of my life in urban and suburban settings, I have now firmly planted my roots in the heart of Vermont. The breathtaking scenery and the relaxed, carefree lifestyle here fuel my most inspired work. In the end, much like Yeats, the mountains have triumphed, just as I always hoped they would.

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