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+
In the Park
by Maxine Kumin
You have forty-nine days between
death and rebirth if you’re a Buddhist.
Even the smallest soul could swim
the English Channel in that time
or climb, like a ten-month-old child,
every step of the Washington Monument
to travel across, up, down, over or through
—you won’t know till you get there which to do.
He laid on me for a few seconds
said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell
about his skirmish with a grizzly bear
in Glacier Park. He laid on me
not doing anything. I could feel
his heart beating against my heart.
Never mind lie and lay, the whole world
confuses them. For Roscoe Black you might say
all forty-nine days flew by.
I was raised on the Old Testament.
In it God talks to Moses, Noah,
Samuel, and they answer.
People confer with angels. Certain
animals converse with humans.
It’s a simple world, full of crossovers.
Heaven’s an airy Somewhere, and God
has a nasty temper when provoked,
but if there’s a Hell, little is made of it.
No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire,
and no choosing what to come back as.
When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down
on atheist and zealot. In the pitch-dark
each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.
“In the Park” by Maxine Kumin from Selected Poems: 1960-1990. W.W. Norton © 1997. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1796 that the doctor Edward Jenner inoculated an eight-year-old boy with a vaccine for smallpox, the first safe vaccine ever developed.
What made it so remarkable was that Jenner accomplished this before the causes of disease were even understood. It would be decades before anyone even knew about the existence of germs.
Jenner submitted a paper about his new procedure to the prestigious Royal Society of London, but it was rejected. The president of the Society told Jenner that it was a mistake to risk his reputation by publishing something so controversial.
So Jenner published his ideas at his own expense in a 75-page book, which came out in 1798. The book was a sensation. The novelist Jane Austen noted in one of her letters that she’d been at a dinner party and everyone was talking about the “Jenner pamphlet.” The procedure eventually caught on, and it was called a “vaccine” after the Latin word for cow. It wasn’t perfect at first, because of poor sanitation and dirty needles, but it was the first time anyone had successfully prevented the infection of any contagious disease.
On this day in 1607, the London Company explorers from England landed in what would become Jamestown, Virginia, the first English settlement in the New World. The colony lay on the banks of the James River, 60 miles from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.
It’s the birthday of nature writer Hal Borland (books by this author), born in Sterling, Nebraska (1900). His father was a newspaperman. Hal started out at his father’s paper in Flagler, Colorado, a town of 750 people, and he ended up at The New York Times in 1937. One day, he submitted a piece about the English oak tree to the editorial page, and it was accepted. After that, his nature editorials were a staple in the Times. He published one every week, and by the time he died in 1978 he had written 1,750 nature editorials — the last of them published the day before his death. Borland kept a New Yorker cartoon on his office wall showing a man brandishing a newspaper and shouting: “Here’s another of those crackpot editorials about the voices of frogs shattering the autumn stillness!”
Borland’s books include When the Legends Die (1963) and Sundial of the Seasons (1964).
And today is the birthday of travel writer and novelist Mary Morris (books by this author), born in Chicago (1947). She published her first collection of short stories, Vanishing Animals & Other Stories, in 1979. The Chicago Tribune called Morris “a marvelous storyteller — a budding Isaac Bashevis Singer, a young Doris Lessing, a talent to be watched and read.” The book won the Rome Prize. She’s written memoirs of her travels across China, Russia, Mexico, and California. She wrote about her trip down the Mississippi River with two river pilots named Tom and Jerry, The River Queen (2007).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®