August 20, 2013

Look under
The cure was in no pill

William Daniels, Untitled, 2013,

* From Harper's September 2013:

-- Percentage of all luxury-goods consumer in 1995 who were Chinese: 2

-- Who are today: 25

-- Estimated number of high school students prosecuted each year for truancy by the state of Texas: 118,000

-- by the other 49 states combined: 52,000

-- Percentage change since 1996 in the number of U.S. children living in poverty: +12

-- In the number receiving cash aid from the U.S. government: -60

* Audiobooks before Audiobooks. excerpt:

Long before anyone had ever heard of audiobooks, Caedmon Records made a name for itself recording authors reading aloud from their work. Many Americans first heard the voices of their favorite writers through the Caedmon Literary Series, launched in the 1950s.

In 1952, Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney went to hear Dylan Thomas read his poetry at New York’s 92nd Street Y. The 22-year-old college graduates left a note asking the Welsh poet to consider a business proposition: $500 to record his poetry. Thomas recited “Do not go gentle into that good night,” “In the white giant’s thigh,” “Fern Hill,” and other poems before running out of verse to fill the record. Instead, he offered to read the story “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Thomas was an inspired choice with which to launch a label devoted to the spoken word. The album went on to sell nearly half a million copies over the next decade. Many of us still find it difficult to read Thomas’s poems without hearing in our heads the Caedmon voice.

Caedmon Records went on to establish a reputation as the premier publisher of spoken word recordings. Its roster features many of the 20th-century’s most revered names in poetry including W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, and Wallace Stevens. Prose writers such as William Faulkner and Eudora Welty likewise read excerpts from their fiction. Despite a preference for authors reading their own work, Caedmon also employed a talented group of actors such as Richard Burton, John Gielgud, and Vanessa Redgrave to read aloud other people’s work.

* "Sometimes the little times you don’t think are anything while they’re happening turn out to be what marks a whole period of your life." -- Andy Warhol


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