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A Gross by Isaac Asimov
Too Gross by John Ciardi
How John Ciardi Grew Engrossed by Isaac Asimov
An Engrossment of Limericks by John Ciardi
Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia, on January 2, 1920. His family emigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. Asimov became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of eight. As a youngster he discovered his talent for writing, producing his first original fiction at the age of eleven. He went on to become one of the world's most prolific writers, publishing nearly 500 books in his lifetime. Asimov was not only a writer; he also was a biochemist and an educator. He studied chemistry at Columbia University, earning a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. In 1951, Asimov accepted a position as an instructor of biochemistry at Boston University's School of Medicine even though he had no practical experience in the field. His exceptional intelligence enabled him to master new systems rapidly, and he soon became a successful and distinguished professor at Columbia and even co-authored a biochemistry textbook within a few years. Asimov won numerous awards and honors for his books and stories, and he is considered to be a leading writer of the Golden Age of science fiction. While he did not invent science fiction, he helped to legitimize it by adding the narrative structure that had been missing from the traditional science fiction books of the period. He also introduced several innovative concepts, including the thematic concern for technological progress and its impact on humanity. Asimov is probably best known for his Foundation series, which includes Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. In 1966, this trilogy won the Hugo award for best all-time science fiction series. In 1983, Asimov wrote an additional Foundation novel, Foundation's Edge, which won the Hugo for best novel of that year. Asimov also wrote a series of robot books that included I, Robot, and eventually he tied the two series together. He won three additional Hugos, including one awarded posthumously for the best non-fiction book of 1995, I. Asimov. "Nightfall" was chosen the best science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1979, Asimov wrote his autobiography, In Memory Yet Green. He continued writing until just a few years before his death from heart and kidney failure on April 6, 1992.
John Anthony Ciardi was born on June 24, 1916 in Boston. He was an American poet, translator, and etymologist. He translated Dante's Divine Comedy, wrote several volumes of children's poetry, pursued etymology, contributed to the Saturday Review as a columnist and long-time poetry editor, and directed the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. In 1959, Ciardi published a book on how to read, write, and teach poetry, How Does a Poem Mean?, which has proven to be among the most-used books of its kind. He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and Tufts University in Boston where he studied under the poet John Holmes. He received his degree in 1938, and won a scholarship to the University of Michigan, where he obtained his master's degree the next year and won the first of many awards for his poetry,e.g., the prestigious Hopwood Award. Ciardi taught at the University of Kansas City before joining the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. He was discharged in October 1945 with the rank of Technical Sergeant. After the war, Mr. Ciardi returned briefly to Kansas State, before being named instructor in 1946, and later assistant professor, in the Briggs Copeland chair at Harvard University, where he stayed until 1953. Ciardi had published his first book of poems, Homeward to America, in 1940, before the war, and his next book, Other Skies, focusing on his wartime experiences, was published in 1947. He had begun translating Dante for his classes at Harvard and continued with the work throughout his time there. His translation of The Inferno was published in 1954. Ciardi's translation of The Purgatorio followed in 1961 and The Paradiso in 1970. John Ciardi died on Easter Sunday in 1986 of a heart attack.