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 Wendell Berry
At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.
“A Purification” by Wendell Berry from New Collected Poems. Counterpoint © 2012. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of novelist Philip Roth (books by this author), born in Newark, New Jersey (1933). He said: “Far from being the classic period of explosion and tempestuous growth, my adolescence was more or less a period of suspended animation. After the victories of an exuberant and spirited childhood — lived out against the dramatic background of America’s participation in World War II — I was to cool down considerably until I went off to college in 1950. […] From age 12, when I entered high school, to age 16, when I graduated, I was by and large a good, responsible, well-behaved boy. […] The best of adolescence was the intense male friendships — not only because of the cozy feelings of camaraderie they afforded boys coming unstuck from their close-knit families, but because of the opportunity they provided for uncensored talk. These marathon conversations, characterized often by raucous discussions of hoped-for sexual adventure and by all sorts of anarchic joking, were typically conducted, however, in the confines of a parked car — two, three, four, or five of us in a single steel enclosure just about the size and shape of a prison cell, and similarly set apart from ordinary human society.”
After college, when he was 26 years old and teaching at the University of Chicago, he published his first book, a classic story of adolescence, the novella Goodbye, Columbus (1959). It won the National Book Award. In the 50-plus years after that, Roth published more than 30 books, including Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) and American Pastoral (1997). He continued to win major awards: another National Book Award, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.
Philip Roth said: “I would be wonderful with a 100-year moratorium on literature talk, if you shut down all literature departments, close the book reviews, ban the critics. The readers should be alone with the books, and if anyone dared to say anything about them, they would be shot or imprisoned right on the spot. Yes, shot. A 100-year moratorium on insufferable literary talk. You should let people fight with the books on their own and rediscover what they are and what they are not. Anything other than this talk. Fairytale talk. As soon as you generalize, you are in a completely different universe than that of literature, and there’s no bridge between the two.”
He died in May of 2018 at the age of 85.
It’s the birthday of legendary African-American comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, North Carolina (1894). Her career as a performer began when she moved to Cleveland at 14 to get away from her tragic past — her parents died in separate accidents; she was raped twice as a teenager, resulting in having two children who were taken from her; and she was being forced into a marriage with an older man. In Cleveland, she met the vaudeville team Butterbeans and Susie. She went to New York City and became very successful on the Chitlin’ Circuit, earning more than $10,000 a week. In 1939, Mabley was the first female comedian to perform at the Apollo Theater.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®