Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, which means everyone needs to stay home from work, shut the blinds and curl up in bed with a good book to avoid the tragedies that inevitably await us if we dare to venture out into the world. There is a higher risk of traffic accidents on Friday the 13th. Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer and Saddam Hussein all have 13 letters in their names. Coincidence? I beg to differ. Seriously though, I was born on Friday the 13th and I turned out just fine. So all you friggatriskaidekaphobics out there, take a chill pill. I'm pretty sure the only bad thing happening this Friday the 13th is this.

It was on August 10, 1821 that Missouri joined the Union and became the 24th state and future homeland to such literary heavyweights as Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot and William S. Burroughs. If I'm ever in Missouri for whatever reason, I'll definitely be visiting the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, MO and checking in on Old Bull Lee in St. Louis.

August 9 is the birthday of poet Philip Larkin, whose poetry was influenced greatly by the Missourian T.S. Eliot. Larkin cited Eliot as one of the writers who was "speaking out loud and clear" in the post-war time when poetry was kind of in the dumps. Buy a copy of Larkin's Collected Poems for your Friday the 13th bedridden reading.

And in honor of Missouri's birthday, pick up a copy of The Missouri Review to feed your lit journal needs. Back in 1997 (Vol XX, Number 2), The Missouri Review published a poem by Bob Kaven called "Aubade" which just so happens to be the title of Philip Larkin's last great poem before his death. Check out Larkin's "Aubade" here, and subscribe to The Missouri Review here.