February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
Detroit Lakes, MN
February 22, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Historic Holmes Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Cloud, MN
February 21, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Pioneer Place on Fifth. 7:30 p.m.
February 20, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Paradise Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
A Dream Within a Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
“A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the writer Edwidge Danticat, (books by this author) born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1969. She was born toward the end of “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s brutal dictatorship, and she said, “While I was growing up, most of the writers I knew were either in hiding, missing, or dead.” Her father left for New York when she was two years old, her mother followed him two years later, so she was raised in Haiti by her aunt and uncle. Her uncle worked in a school and would bring home books for his niece to read, and she spent a lot of time with her aunt and other older women in her family, just listening to their stories and conversations.
When she was 12 years old, she moved to Brooklyn to live with her parents, where her father was driving cabs and her mom worked in a factory. She had trouble fitting into her new country, with her heavy accent and all the stigmas associated with Haiti. But she also didn’t want to be a traditional Haitian woman, a wife, cook, mother, and housekeeper. She wanted to write, but she said, “Writing was forbidden as dark rouge on the cheeks or a first date before 18. It was an act of indolence, something to be done in a corner when you could have been learning to cook.”
She started writing anyway, and wrote an essay about her experience as an immigrant, which she got published in a city-wide newspaper for teenagers. But she didn’t feel that she had told her story completely, so she turned it into a short story. She graduated from Barnard and went to Brown to get a degree in creative writing. While she was there, she took her short story and expanded it, and when she was 25 years old, she published her first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994). It’s the story of a young girl named Sophie Caco who is raised by her aunt in Haiti and gets sent to New York to live with her mother, but their relationship is strained by memories of violence and family relationships in Haiti. Eventually, Sophie travels back home with her own young daughter to visit the women who raised her and to try to make peace with her family’s past. The book got great reviews, and the next year, Edwidge Danticat published a collection of short stories, Krik? Krak! (1995), also about the experience of Haitians and Haitian-Americans. “Krik? Krak!” is a typical Haitian expression that introduces storytelling.
She’s written five novels including Claire of the Sea Light (2014), four non-fiction works including The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story (2017), some books for children and young adults, and she’s edited anthologies, too. A short story collection entitled Everything Inside is due out this summer.
It’s the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe (1809) (books by this author), born Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were both actors, but his father left the family in 1810, and his mother died of tuberculosis a year later. The young Poe was raised by the Allans, a Scottish merchant family in Richmond, Virginia, who gave the boy his middle name. They sent him to the University of Virginia, where he picked up a habit of drinking and gambling from his rich classmates. He had a falling out with his foster father over this dissolute behavior, and was disowned. He spent the next several years living in poverty, depending on his aunt for a home, and supporting himself by writing anything he could, including a how-to guide for seashell collecting. Eventually he began to contribute poems and journalism pieces to magazines.
He first made his name writing some of the most brutal book reviews ever published at the time. He was called the “tomahawk man from the South.” He described one poem as “an illimitable gilded swill trough,” and he said, “[Most] of those who hold high places in our poetical literature are absolute nincompoops.” He wrote fiction, too: mostly light, humorous tales because that’s what was popular. But writing didn’t pay well; he made about $4 per article and $15 per story. In 1842, his young wife, Virginia, contracted tuberculosis. His work became darker and more grotesque, and he wrote some of his best-known macabre stories and poems during the time of his wife’s illness. In 1843, he published “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and then published “The Raven” in 1845, and though it was an instant success, he was only paid $9 for the poem. Virginia died in 1847, and Poe died two years later, after he was found delirious in a Baltimore gutter.
Poe’s cause of death was never determined, but most people have assumed it had to do with his alcoholism, or his drug addiction. But many of the assumptions people have long held about Poe can be traced back to one of his rivals, anthologist Rufus Wilmot Griswold. The two men had had an ongoing feud since 1842, when Poe was critical of Griswold’s choice of poets for an anthology. Griswold, under the name “Ludwig,” wrote a lengthy obituary for The New York Tribune, which began: “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. The announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.” Somehow, Griswold secured the right to act as Poe’s literary executor, and in a collection of Poe’s work published in 1850, Griswold included a biography that he called “Memoir of the Author.” He portrayed Poe as a drug addict, a drunk, and a madman, and included forged letters as “evidence.” He wanted to destroy Poe’s reputation and ruin his literary legacy; instead, his salacious rumors served to boost sales of the author’s work.
We know now that Poe did suffer from bouts of depression, and that he had a complicated relationship with alcohol: he did some drinking followed by months or years of abstinence. But his reputation as a drunk and a madman can be traced back to the fact that he was a hard edged reviewer of other people’s work, and his enemies were quick to spread demeaning stories about him.