Today, October 2, is the birthday of both Wallace Stevens, born in Reading, Pa. in 1879 and of Graham Greene, born in Hertfordshire, England in 1904.
Stevens was one of the few writers who kept his job after becoming a successful writer. He woke early every day and composed his poems in his head while walking to and from work at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. Most people he worked with didn't know he was a poet and he preferred his anonymity. His first book, Harmonium, was published when he was 45. It contained some of his most famous poems including "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" whose first stanza contains a striking visual image:
"Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird."
Greene was a shy child who in his teens attempted suicide several times. At the urging of his therapist, he began to write. He spent much of his life in Vietnam where one of his most famous books, The Quiet American takes place. He published more than thirty books.