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+
O Sweet Spontaneous
by E. E. Cummings
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with
“O Sweet Spontaneous” by E.E. Cummings. Public domain. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1926 that Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne was published (books by this author). Milne was a writer for Punch, and many of his first “children’s” poems and stories were printed there, not intended for children at all but for whimsical adult readers. The first Pooh story, “In Which We are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees and the Stories Begin,” was published in The London Evening News on Christmas Eve in 1925 and broadcast on the BBC the next day.
Even though Milne based the Winnie-the-Pooh stories on his son, Christopher Robin, and his son’s stuffed bear, he didn’t even read the stories aloud to Christopher Robin. Milne preferred to read his young son the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. Christopher Robin later said: “My father did not write the books for children. He didn’t write for any specific market; he knew nothing about marketing. He knew about me, he knew about himself, he knew about the Garrick Club — he was ignorant about anything else. Except, perhaps, about life.”
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.
“When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, ‘But I thought he was a boy?’
“‘So did I,’ said Christopher Robin.
“‘Then you can’t call him Winnie?’
“‘But you said —’
“‘He’s Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don’t you know what “ther” means?’
“‘Ah, yes, now I do,’ I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.”
It’s the birthday of E.E. Cummings (books by this author), born Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894). His poems were experimental and he followed his own grammar rules, but they were about simple subjects — love, nature, children, sex — and people liked that. When he died in 1962, he was the second most read poet in the country, after Robert Frost.
His father, also named Edward, was a Harvard professor-turned-Unitarian minister, a well-known public figure. Cummings said, “My father is the principal figure of my earliest remembered life. […] His illimitable love was the axis of my being.” He described his father: “He was a New Hampshire man, 6 foot 2, a crack shot and a famous fly-fisherman & a firstrate sailor (his sloop was named The Actress) & a woodsman who could find his way through forests primeval without a compass & a canoeist who’d still paddle you up to a deer without ruffling the surface of a pond & an ornithologist & taxidermist & (when he gave up hunting) an expert photographer & an actor who portrayed Julius Caesar in Sanders Theatre & a painter (both in oils & watercolors) […] & a plumber who just for the fun of it installed his own waterworks & (while still at Harvard) a teacher with small use for professors […] a preacher who horribly shocked his pewholders by crying ‘the kingdom of Heaven is no spiritual roofgarden: it’s inside you’ & my father had the first telephone in Cambridge […] & my father was a servant of the people who fought Boston’s biggest & crookedest politician fiercely all day & a few evenings later sat down with him cheerfully at the Rotary Club & my father’s voice was so magnificent that he was called on to impersonate God from Beacon Hill (he was heard all over the Common).”
In 1066 on this day, William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. In September of 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, left France with 600 ships and up to 10,000 men. He disembarked at Pevensey, in Sussex, and moved along the coast to Hastings. Meanwhile, in the north of England, Harold II was fighting off his brother and an army of Vikings. When he heard of William’s invasion, he hurried his bedraggled army south, to a ridge about 10 miles northeast of Hastings.
William sent his army to attack, archers in front, infantrymen behind, and knights in the rear. Although the Normans suffered many early casualties, they feigned retreat twice, luring the Englishmen from their positions. They then turned and annihilated them. When Harold was killed, the leaderless army fought on for a while, then scattered. The victorious Normans moved on to London, where William I was crowned king on December 25.
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