Today is Tuesday, March 6, 2018. It’s the birthday of Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Cyrano de Bergerac, and composer Stephen Schwartz were also born today. Barrett Browning’s “The Soul’s Expression” is our poem for today. Thank you for reading and sharing Bidwell Hollow. May today bring you joy and peace.
Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Today is the birthday of Gabriel Garcia Márquez (affiliate link), born in 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia.
Márquez was a journalist in Colombia when he got a sailor to confess. The Colombian government claimed the sailor was a hero after he survived a shipwreck. The sailor, though, admitted that the ship had been carrying contraband.
Márquezes report made Colombian dictator Gen. Gustavo Rojas Pinilla angry. Fearing for his safety, the reporter fled to Europe.
But even an ocean’s separation couldn’t spare him from the Colombian government. After two years in Europe the newspaper for which Márquez worked closed, leaving him jobless in Paris.
While sustaining himself by selling discarded bottles, Márquez wrote two novels. Those books published in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Márquez continued working as a journalist before spending two years writing for Fidel Castro’s official press agency, Prensa Latina. He then moved to Mexico City and took a four-year break from writing fiction.
When Márquez resumed writing stories, he wrote about the fictional Buendía family’s saga in Colombia. The book, “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” begins with, “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Col. Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
The novel flew off bookshelves when it published in 1967. Critics and readers alike loved the magical realist story that followed seven generations of the Buendía family.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” sparked a career that left Márquez as one of the most noted Spanish-language writers ever. Other novels by the author include “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “The Autumn of the Patriarch.” He also released several short story collections.
Márquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
For years, Márquez wasn’t allowed into the United States due to his allegiance to leftist political causes. But President Bill Clinton ended the ban on Márquez entering the U.S.
Márquez and Clinton met in 1995 at a dinner hosted by novelist William Styron. The two bonded and remained friends for the rest of Márquez’s life.
When Márquez passed away in 2014, Clinton said, “I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty. He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It’s the birthday of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (affiliate link). She was born Elizabeth Barrett in 1806 in Durham County, England.
Barrett started writing poems for periodicals. She then published her first book of poetry, “The Seraphim and Other Poems,” in 1838. She followed this in 1844 with “Poems.”
People loved Barrett’s second volume. Her admirers included writer Robert Browning. He who wrote a letter confessing his love for Barrett, though the two hadn’t met. The couple continued writing to each other, a courtship ensued, and they married in 1846.
Barrett Browning wrote about her romance with Browning in “Sonnets from the Portuguese.” The volume, released in 1850, contains 44 love sonnets. It sealed Barrett Browning’s popularity in England.
The poet’s most enduring work, though, is “Aurora Leigh.” It published in 1856, telling the story of a wealthy man who controls a young woman. Today the poem’s viewed as an early feminist work for its portrayal of gender roles.
Cyrano de Bergerac
Born today in 1619 in Paris, France, was novelist and playwright Cyrano de Bergerac (affiliate link).
He wrote science fiction about imaginary trips to the sun and moon in “Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon” and “Comical History of the States and Empires of the Sun.” The works satirize the politics and culture of the French society in which he lived.
Bergerac also wrote two notable plays, “The Pedant Tricked” and “The Death of Agrippina.”
But today, Bergerac is most known for a play about him then he is for anything he wrote. Playwright Edmond Rostand created “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1897.
The play centers on the reign of Louis XIII. A fictitious version of Bergerac serves as the production’s poet-lover hero.
And it’s the birthday of Stephen Schwartz (affiliate link), born in New York City in 1948. He’s the composer of musicals such as “Godspell” and “Wicked.”
“Godspell,” based on New Testament parables, opened off-Broadway in 1971. Schwartz’s music earned him the 1972 Grammy for Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album.
Also in 1972, the musical “Pippin” opened on Broadway with a score by Schwartz. And two years later Schwartz’s “The Magic Show” debuted.
When “Godspell” opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1976, three Schwartz musicals were playing on Broadway.
By the 1990s, Schwartz was working in Hollywood. He provided music for the Disney movie, “Pocahontas.” For this, Schwartz received his second Grammy and two Oscars: Best Music/Original Song and Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score.
Schwartz won a third Oscar in 1999 for writing the song “When You Believe” for the animated film, “The Prince of Egypt.”
In 2003, Schwartz returned to Broadway with “Wicked.” Based on the Gregory Maguire novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” the musical is an alternate version of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Wicked” netted Schwartz his third Grammy Award. The musical is one of the highest-grossing musicals in Broadway history. It continues on Broadway today, closing in on 6,000 performances.
“The Soul’s Expressions”
With stammering lips and insufficient sound
I strive and struggle to deliver right
That music of my nature, day and night
With dream and thought and feeling interwound
And only answering all the senses round
With octaves of a mystic depth and height
Which step out grandly to the infinite
From the dark edges of the sensual ground.
This song of soul I struggle to outbear
Through portals of the sense, sublime and whole,
And utter all myself into the air:
But if I did it,—as the thunder-roll
Breaks its own cloud, my flesh would perish there,
Before that dread apocalypse of soul.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), Public Domain