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+
Death Comes Knocking at My Door
by Michael Kiesow Moore
When I saw Death standing at my doorstep
I thought of the speech I long prepared.
“Why did you take them away, why so many?
Did you have to take Keith and Bill and Frederic
and Mahlon and Tim and Hunter and Kerry –
I could go on with the names all day.”
Sometimes when I compose this long rehearsed
speech, I also ask, “Why them and not me?”
All these words hung in the air unspoken
as I watched how tired Death looked.
Death’s bones bowed with weariness.
“So, do you want to come in?” I asked.
Death gave no answer but walked in
and sat in my living room chair.
I dropped over the tired bones my favorite
afghan quilt knitted by my grandma.
I almost said, you are now wrapped by the
love of one more you stole, but held my tongue.
I made Death a cup of tea, who took it
gratefully. And we sat. In silence.
The strangeness of Death sitting in
my living room, covered by my grandma’s
wool afghan, sipping tea wore off.
We were not strangers to each other.
Then Death stood, handed me the tea cup,
the afghan dropping to the chair.
As Death crossed my threshold I said,
“I suppose I will see you again one day.”
“Death Comes Knocking at My Door” by Michael Kiesow Moore from The Song Castle. Nodin Press © 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the poet Dorianne Laux (books by this author), born on this day in 1952 in Augusta, Maine. She graduated from high school, and she liked writing poems and took some classes at the local college, but she was also a single mom and worked various odd jobs — in a gas station, a sanatorium, a donut shop, and as a maid — so she didn’t have much time to write.
She was living in California, working at a restaurant, and her therapist gave her the address of a bookstore and told her she should go there and listen to poets read their work. So she did, and became friends with them, and started writing all the time, and went on to write several books of poetry and win awards. Her books include Facts About the Moon (2005), Superman: The Chapbook (2008), The Book of Men: Poems (2012), and Only As the Day is Long (2019).
She says: “Every poem I write falls short in some important way. But I go on trying to write the one that won’t.”
It was on this day in 1776 that an anonymous pamphlet was published, 46 pages long, in Philadelphia, a pamphlet called Common Sense. It explained why the American colonies should declare independence from Great Britain. It was easy to understand, it was popular, and it rallied a lot of people for the revolutionary cause who had not been involved before they read it.
Common Sense sold 500,000 copies in its first year after publication, which is quite something, considering that there were only about two and a half million people living in all of the 13 colonies at that time. Thomas Paine donated all the royalties to George Washington’s Continental Army.
He wrote, “Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.”
It’s the birthday of historian Stephen E. Ambrose (books by this author), born in Decatur, Illinois (1936). He was the son of a small-town doctor, and he became a football star at the University of Wisconsin, where he played both offense and defense and often spent the entire 60-minute game on the field. If he had been a little bigger, he would have considered turning pro. But after taking a class with a popular history professor on campus, he decided to devote his life to history.
He was 28 years old when a small university press published his first book, Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff (1962), a biography of General Henry Halleck. One day, he got a phone call from the former President Dwight Eisenhower, who had read his book on Halleck and liked it so much that he wanted Ambrose to be his own biographer. Ambrose wrote several books about Eisenhower, including The Supreme Commander (1970) and Eisenhower: The President (1984), and those books helped him make the leap from academic to popular historian.
He went on to write many bestselling books about American history, including Band of Brothers (1992) and Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West (1996). He participated in the more than 1,400 interviews of World War II veterans, collecting oral histories of the war, and he drew upon those interviews to write one of his most popular books, D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (1994). He was also the founder and director of the National D-Day Museum, which opened in New Orleans in 2000. He died in 2002.
Ambrose said: “The number one secret of being a successful writer is this: marry an English major.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®