St. Michael, MN
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JULY 4, 2021, 4:00 PM SUMMERFIELD AMPHITHEATER 4300 O’Day Ave. NE, St. Michael, MN 55376 $42/$15 Outside concert FAQs In 2021 we are going bigger, better, bolder, and in the […]
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director July 2, 2021, 7:30 PM BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA, BAYFIELD, WI Reserved $60/$52/$42 The Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua is a 900-seat music venue and performing arts center, located near […]
Stillwater, MN 6-30
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director June 30, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, AND SHOW […]
Just Added: Stillwater, MN 6-29
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JUST ADDED June 29, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, […]
Pandemic Poetry Meeting 3: Jessica de Koninck & Julia Levine
Join Garrison in conversation with Jessica de Koninck and Julia Levine, two winners of the Pandemic Poetry contest.
Watch the video here:
Follow along with Jessica de Koninck’s poem “Repairs”
I almost went to visit the cemetery,
but you are not really there,
just what might be left
of the parts. When you died,
your brother refused to look
at the body. That’s not Paul,
anymore, he said.
I did look.
I sat and examined you closely,
a moment after you died, an hour
after, several hours after.
You would have done the same
for me, taking note of the details
of the flesh after life, what changed,
what remained the same.
Your hair still smelled like your hair
when the men came to remove
the body. They would not let me
watch you go.
Instead of the cemetery I went
to Home Depot since it’s on the same street,
but not as far away. How funny
you would find me, navigating hardware,
electrical, plumbing supplies.
The whole place smells like men.
I miss that.
I walked past the yard bags
three times before I found them
and did not know to buy a switch
along with the light. How you loved
meandering the overstocked
aisles, inspecting the intricacies
of toggle bolts, checking lumber for knots
and warping. It’s my turn now.
I am becoming accomplished
in the small details of living alone.
I have learned to shim a table,
tighten a faucet, drill a hole.
Published in Cutting Room by Jessica de Koninck. Terrapin Books, 2016 (buy now).
Follow along with Julia Levine’s poem “Ordinary Psalm with September Windstorm”
Ordinary Psalm with September Windstorm
It gusts through the valley,
the ridgeline full-leafed and trembling.
As for want and more and never enough,
the blue cables of our dead tie us into forever–
my father there playing Chopin,
your mother in the garden staking peppers.
They have met and shyly danced together
amazed at how gracefully the soul twirls
without its bones. As for us, still clothed
in this world, we can almost forget them
this afternoon in bed, the glass doors
thrown apart to watch the swallows rise,
wings unfurled, blown back behind rafters.
And yet, just to touch the flower
nested in the between of us, death
must howl through as wind sweeping up
summer’s cast-off spore. In the spell
of a season on its threshold, sometimes
a sweetness pours into a life you have
to look away from, just to believe it’s yours.
Published in Ordinary Psalms, by Julia B Levine, Louisiana State University Press (in press). Purchase books by this author
by Jessia de Koninck
Instead of brisket, a chicken
Instead of a whole one
The thighs and the legs
Instead of a shank bone
A ruby beet
Instead of apples, cranberries
Instead of spring asparagus
Frozen brussels sprouts
Skip the gefilte fish too many courses
Instead of honey cake
Instead of taiglach
Instead of macaroons
Instead, instead, instead
Of Passover it will still
Instead of guests
There will be screens
Instead of hugs
There will be talking
Use the good china
Set the table
Just for one
Pour an extra glass
Of wine for Elijah, and
As always, the prophet
Will not come.
Letter to My Daughter After Our First Zoom Call
by Julia B. Levine
Last night, I saw your pixelated sadness on the screen.
In a strange quiet that could be anywhere in America,
you told me that you felt as lonely as someone dying.
That when you cry, you try to harmonize with sirens
wailing up your street. Honey, when you were a child,
what could I do but lie, telling you it would all be fine?
Now, rain knocking orange blossoms into wind, I write.
Remind you of the story of your father and I, not yet 25,
deep in wilderness. How a grizzly shredded our foodsacks,
ate it all. Thirteen days we trudged on powdered milk,
a cup of rice, emerging to a pickup in the parking lot.
Windows down, a rancher smoked, listening to Garth Brooks
on his radio. What I’ve never told you though, is how,
we rode for miles on stones stacked in that rancher’s flatbed,
a hot July afternoon rushing past, until I understood
the boulders beneath our newly bony bodies were melons.
Honey, this is not just a metaphor for joy. This is what it means
to be carried so far outside of ordinary time—you find yourself
stabbing at manna with a Swiss Army knife, hacking out ragged
chunks of rind and fruit. This is why first you need to starve
before you can gorge on a world sliced wide to survival’s
sticky mess, its mean sweetness—black seeds like buckshot
embedded in wet, red flesh, and all of it, for our last mile
into town, swallowed down together, taken whole.