High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60-$40
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the Waynes Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM $55 reserved
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $30 reserved/ $10 children
Carrollton, GA Luncheon
Garrison Keillor will join guests for a casual Luncheon in the Lobby of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, where he will talk about how it all began and where he thinks he is going. Tickets: $45
Garrison Keillor Tonight with opener Debi Smith comes to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $45.00.
by Charles Simic
The woman I love is a saint
Who deserves to have
People falling on their knees
Before her in the street
Asking for her blessing.
Instead, here she is on the floor,
Hitting a mouse with a shoe
As tears run down her face.
“The Saint,” from Scribbled in the Dark by Charles Simic. Copyright (c) 2017 by Charles Simic. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Marguerite de Navarre (books by this author), born in Angoulême, France, in 1492. The daughter of a count and a mother with high aspirations for her children, Marguerite learned Latin, Spanish, Hebrew, and Italian and read philosophy and the Scriptures.
Her younger brother, Francis, became the King of France. He had always looked up to his big sister, and he asked her to join his court to provide counsel and advice. She did, advising her brother on diplomatic affairs and why he should employ Leonardo da Vinci and Benvenuto Cellini at the royal court, and why he should try to reform the Catholic Church. She tried to mediate the religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants, and to protect reformers like John Calvin — even though she didn’t agree with him.
It’s the birthday of poet Christopher Smart (books by this author), born in Shipbourne, England (1722), who experienced a religious awakening that convinced him that he was a prophet. He began praying and preaching in the streets of London, and tried to follow the biblical injunction to “pray ceaselessly,” dropping to his knees whenever the spirit moved him, which embarrassed his family. They put him into an asylum, where he wrote the two poems for which he is best known: A Song to David (1763) and Jubilate Agno (first published in 1938).
It’s the birthday of humorist Leo Rosten (books by this author), born in Lodz, Poland (1908). He came to America as a small boy, first to Chicago, and then to New York City. He’s best known for creating the character Hyman Kaplan, in a series of humorous stories in the New Yorker magazine. He was also the editor of The Joys of Yiddish (1968), a best-selling dictionary that he described as “a relaxed lexicon of Yiddish, Hebrew, and Yinglish words often encountered in English, plus dozens that ought to be.” He described the 20 situations where one should say feh; 19 meanings of Nu? (including “What’s the hurry?” and “How are things with you?”); and included entries on oy, chutzpah, mish-mosh, and many more words.
It’s the birthday of writer Dorothy Allison (books by this author), born in Greenville, South Carolina (1949), to an unwed 15-year-old who’d dropped out of seventh grade and worked as a waitress. Allison grew up desperately poor, and was sexually abused by her stepfather. But she was inspired by the confidence her teachers and classmates had in her intelligence. “Because they did not see poverty and hopelessness as a foregone conclusion for my life,” she wrote, “I could begin to imagine other futures for myself.”
She won a National Merit Scholarship and was the first person in her family to attend college. There, in the late ’60s, she was introduced to the Feminist movement, which she said “was like opening your eyes under water. It hurt, but suddenly everything that had been dark and mysterious became visible and open to change.” She wrote a memoir about her childhood and family history, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (1995), but it is her earlier novel, Bastard Out of Carolina (1992), that she’s best known for.
Allison said: “People want biography. People want memoir. They want you to tell them that the story you’re telling them is true. The thing I’m telling you is true, but it did not always happen to me.”
It’s the birthday of poet Mark Strand (books by this author), born in Summerside on Prince Edward Island, Canada (1934). His father worked for Pepsi-Cola, and the family moved frequently: across Canada and the United States, to Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, and Peru.
He wanted to become an artist. He attended the Yale School of Art and Architecture, where he studied under Josef Albers, a painter and color theorist. He decided that his talent lay in writing, not painting. He received a Fulbright Grant to spend a year in Florence studying 19th-century Italian poetry, and then went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first book of poems was called Sleeping With One Eye Open (1964), and over the next 15 years, he published six more collections.
By 1980, with a volume of Selected Poems just published, Strand was burned out. He said, “I didn’t like what I was writing, I didn’t believe in my autobiographical poems.” He decided to take a break from writing poetry. Instead, he wrote children’s books, several books about art, and a book of short stories called Mr. and Mrs. Baby and Other Stories (1985). This book included a story about a killer poet, another about a man who used to be a dog, and a third about a U.S. president who is obsessed with reading Chekhov aloud to his cabinet.
During his long hiatus, Strand happened to pick up Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of The Iliad by Homer. He was so inspired by the beauty of the language that he immediately started writing again. In 1990, he was named poet laureate, and later that year, he published his first book of poems in a decade, The Continuous Life.
For decades, Strand taught at various colleges and continued to publish. Toward the end of his life, at the age of 77, he decided to quit writing poetry again. He fell in love with a Spanish woman, moved to Madrid, and began making art again. He said: “I started collaging as an escape from making meaning. I got tired of writing poems, of trying to make sense — verbal sense. It is a relief to make a different kind of sense — visual sense. One must think, of course, but it is an entirely different kind of thinking, one in which language does not intrude.”
His books include Reasons for Moving (1968), The Story of Our Lives (1973), Blizzard of One (1998), Almost Invisible (2012), and Collected Poems (2014).
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