Left: Photograph of Anaïs Nin as a teenager, circa 1920. | Right: Photograph of Nin, date unknown.
Today in 1903, Anaïs Nin was born in France to Hispanic/Cuban parents and was given the never-ending name — Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell. Whew. Though she was raised in France and spent time in both Spain and Cuba, she lived the majority of her life in the United States where she established herself as an author.
I haven’t read any of her journals or other works, but I always stumble across quotes of hers that I like. (I wonder if she wrote anything in her journals about the weight of carrying six different names.)
Rainer Maria Rilke (Fotografie, 18. September 1900) *Public Domain
Today in 1875, my favourite poet — Rainer Maria Rilke — was born in Prague. I think I first read his Letters to a Young Poet before I ever set eyes on his poetry. For me, the mark of a true writer is if he or she understands the limitation of words; on the first page of his first Letter, Rilke acknowledges — “most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered”.
Today in 1898, one of my all-time favourite authors was born: C. S. Lewis — a poet, scholar, story teller, reader, theologian, thinker and lover of tea. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Lewis. First there was Narnia, then his nonfiction writings became just as beloved (even though I’m not usually a big nonfiction fan).
Today in 1887, the witty American Modernist poet, Marianne Moore was born. She won a Pulitzer, had one of her books published with an intro written by T. S. Eliot (!), and threw the first pitch for the Yankees 1968 season. She thought poetry was all about creating “imaginary gardens with real toads in them”.