Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
by Dorianne Laux
I passed through the narrow hills
of my mother’s hips one cold morning
and never looked back, until now,
clipping her tough toenails, sitting on the bed’s edge
combing out the tuft of hair at the crown
where it ratted up while she slept, her thumbs
locked into her fists, a gesture as old
as she is, her blanched knees fallen together
beneath a blue nightgown. The stroke
took whole pages of words, random years
torn from the calendar, the names of roses
leaning over her driveway: Cadenza,
Great Western, American Beauty. She can’t
think, can’t drink her morning tea, do her
crossword puzzle in ink. She’s afraid
of everything, the sound of the front door
opening, light falling through the blinds—
pulls her legs up so the bright bars
won’t touch her feet. I help her
with the buttons on her sweater. She looks
hard at me and says the word sleeve.
Exactly, I tell her and her face relaxes
for the first time in weeks. I lie down
next to her on the flowered sheets and tell her
a story about the day she was born, head
first into a hard world: the Great Depression,
shanties, Hoovervilles, railroads and unions.
I tell her about Amelia Earhart and she asks
Air? and points to the ceiling. Asks Heart?
and points to her chest. Yes, I say. I sing
Cole Porter songs, Brother, Can You Spare
a Dime? When I recite lines from Gone
with the Wind she sits up and says Potatoes!
and I say, Right again. I read her Sandburg,
some Frost, and she closes her eyes. I say yes,
yes, and tuck her in. It’s summer. She’s tired.
No one knows where she’s been.
“Mother’s Day” by Dorianne Laux from Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems. W. W. Norton & Company © 2019. (buy now)
On this day in 1959, the guerrilla leader Fidel Castro took over as the Prime Minister of Cuba. The son of a wealthy sugar cane farmer, Castro had practiced law in Havana, but then, disgusted with the status quo, entered politics as a member of the Cuban People’s Party. After ousting dictator Fulgencio Batista, Castro invited the wrath of the United States by nationalizing all the sugar plantations — many had absentee landlords in the U.S.A.
It’s the birthday of historian and philosopher Henry Adams (books by this author), born in Boston, Massachusetts (1838). He was the grandson of John Quincy Adams and the great-grandson of John Adams, and wrote several books on American history, including the nine-volume History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (1889-91).
He’s best known for his dark and pessimistic autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams (1918). He said he felt more at home in 17th- and 18th-century America than he did in 20th-century America. He wrote that most Americans he had encountered “had no time for thought; they saw, and could see, nothing beyond their day’s work; their attitude to the universe outside them was that of the deep-sea fish.”
It’s the birthday of novelist Richard Ford (books by this author) born in Jackson, Mississippi (1944). Ford has spent most of his adult life moving from city to city with his wife. He’s lived in 14 states, as well as France and Mexico. At one point, he divided his time between a townhouse on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a house in Montana, and a plantation house in Mississippi. He said: “The really central thing is that, no matter where I move, I always write and I’m married to the same girl. All that other stuff is just filigree.”
His novel Independence Day (1995), won the Pulitzer Prize. His short story collection Sorry for Your Trouble is due out in May 2020.
It’s the birthday of the printer Giambattista Bodoni, born in Saluzzo, Italy (1740). He came from a family of engravers, and by the time he died, he had opened his own publishing house that reprinted classical texts, and he had personally designed almost 300 typefaces. His typeface Bodoni is still available on almost any word processing program.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®