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+
Listening for Your Name
by David Graham
As a father steals into his child’s half-lit bedroom
slowly, quietly, standing long and long
counting the breaths before finally slipping
back out, taking care not to wake her,
and as that night-lit child is fully awake the whole
time, with closed eyes, measured breathing,
savoring a delicious blessing she couldn’t
name but will remember her whole life,
how often we feel we’re being watched over,
or that we’re secretly looking in on the ones
we love, even when they are far away,
or even as they are lost in the sleep
no one wakes from—what we know
and what we feel can fully coincide, like love
and worry, like taking care in full silence
and secrecy, like darkness and light together.
“Listening for Your Name” by David Graham from The Honey of Earth. Terrapin Books © 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
In 1581, he published his most famous work, La Gerusalemme liberata, or Jerusalem Delivered, an epic poem about the Crusades. It was hugely popular across Europe, even as Tasso suffered from what is now thought to be schizophrenia — he was suspicious of everyone around him and lashed out at friends and patrons. He started taking off in secret, traveling incognito around the countryside. He lost all his money and had to move from court to court, trying to get various noblemen to support him. One frustrated benefactor committed him to a madhouse, where he spent seven years. Despite his mental illness, Tasso continued writing love sonnets, plays, and epic and religious poems, and he was proclaimed poet laureate by the pope — but he died just days before he was to be crowned.
Two years before she had spent the summer in a cabin on Lake Geneva with her lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley, her sister Claire, and Claire’s lover, the poet Lord Byron. It rained a lot that summer, and one night, Byron suggested they all write ghost stories. At first Mary had trouble coming up with a story, but while lying in bed, reported having a waking nightmare, seeing a vision of a man reanimating a creature. She wrote: “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.” So she set to work on Frankenstein.
It’s the birthday of children’s author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (books by this author), born Jacob Ezra Katz in Brooklyn (1916). The son of impoverished Jewish immigrants from Warsaw, he wanted to be an artist, and that worried his family — but he couldn’t afford art school, so he got a job painting murals for the Works Progress Administration, and designed army camouflage during World War II.
The first book he wrote and illustrated on his own was The Snowy Day (1962), done all in collage, about a young black boy named Peter playing in his neighborhood after a new snowfall. It was one of the first children’s books to feature a black character. He went on to illustrate more than 80 children’s books, and to write and illustrate more than 20 books.
He said, “I love city life. All the beauty that other people see in country life, I find taking walks and seeing the multitudes of people.”
It was on this day in 1918 that the first cases of what would become the influenza pandemic were reported in the U.S. when 107 soldiers got sick at Fort Riley, Kansas.
It was the worst pandemic in world history. The flu that year killed only 2.5 percent of its victims, but more than a fifth of the world’s entire population caught it — it’s estimated that between 50 million and 100 million people died in just a few months. Historians believe at least 500,000 people died in the United States alone.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®