Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 2 entries for this date: Katha Pollitt and E. E. Cummings
Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt

On this date in 1949, writer and atheist Katha Pollitt was born in New York City. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard and a master of fine arts from Columbia University. The Washington Post calls her stellar "Subject to Debate" column, which has been published by The Nation biweekly since 1994, "the best place to go for original thinking on the left." Pollitt has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship for her poetry. Her 1982 book, Antarctic Traveller, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Grand Street, Yale Review, Poetry and Antaeus. A collection of her writings, Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism, was published by Knopf in 1994. The title was an ode to Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote: "I wish to see women neither heroines nor brutes, but reasonable creatures." Katha's second book of essays, Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture, was published in 2001. Signature columns include "Catholic Bashing?," "Heaven Can Wait," "Get Thee Behind Me, Disney," "Vouching Toward Bethlehem," and "Of Toes & Men," in which she wrote: "You'd think by now politicians would realize that promoting family values is like wearing a Kick Me sign on your back." Katha Pollitt's piece de resistance was her column titled "Freedom From Religion, Si! " appearing in 2000 about Lieberman, et. al. After Katha was named "Freethought Heroine of the Year" by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1995, she wrote about the convention in a column called "No God, No Master." Katha forthrightly volunteers her atheism, and defends rationalism and the separation of church and state in her columns, during interviews and on national TV programs. Her outspoken, official dissent from the "official American civic religion" brought her the Foundation's "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" in 2001.

“The question is, will the rest of America get fed up with fundamentalists before the fundamentalists and the Republican party get fed up with each other? And how much damage will they do before that happy day arrives?”

—Katha Pollitt, acceptance speech

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings

On this date in 1894, (Edward Estlin) E.E. Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father, Edward Cummings, was a Unitarian minister. Cummings graduated magna cum laude in Greek and English from Harvard in 1915 and earned his Master's there the following year. He volunteered to serve in France in 1917 as part of an ambulance group. He and a pacifist friend were falsely imprisoned for treason for four months in a French detention camp, which inspired his successful, anti-authoritarian novel, The Enormous Room (1922). His first book of poetry, Tulips and Chimneys (1923), was also a success. For many years Cummings' work schedule involved painting in the afternoons and writing in the evenings. Although he wrote love poetry in some depth, he is known for his iconoclastic, satiric and playful attacks on the establishment, as well as for his use of the lower case. Cummings was married three times; the third and last marriage was happy. Cummings was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1951. The collected edition of his works, Poems, 1923-54, was published in 1954. He was awarded the Bolingen Prize in 1958 and a 2-year grant of $15,000 from the Ford Foundation in 1959. D. 1962.

the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow, both dead

—E.E. Cummings, excerpt, "the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls," Tulips and Chimneys, 1923

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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