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 Gregory Djanikian
There’s something to be said for banality,
the way it keeps everything on a level plane,
one cliché blithely following another
like cows heading toward the pasture.
How lovely sometimes not to think
about Russian Futurism, or the second law
of thermodynamics, or how thinking itself
requires some thoughtfulness.
I’d like to ask if Machiavelli
ever owned a dog named “Prince.”
I’d like to imagine Rosalind Franklin
lounging pleasantly by a wood stove.
Let the mind take a holiday,
the body put its slippers on.
It’s a beautiful day, says the banal,
and today, I’m happy to agree
with its genial locutions.
Woof, woof, goes the neighbor’s dog.
The sun is pouring in through the window,
heating up the parlor, the blue sky is so blue,
and the cumulous clouds are looking very cumulous.
I’m all for reading a murder mystery,
something with flair but forgettable.
Or some novelette whose hero’s name
is Hawk or Kestrel, a raptor bird
soaring above his ravished love.
I’m lying on the couch with easy puzzles.
I’m playing a song that has no accidentals.
Life’s but a dream, comme ci, comme ça.
No doubt, tomorrow I’ll be famished
for what’s occult and perilous,
all those knots in the brain,
all the words that are hard to crack.
Today, I’m floating like a feather,
call me Falcon, look me up
in the field guide under Blissful,
Empty-headed, under everything
that loves what it does today,
and requires no explanation.
Gregory Djanikian, “Banality” from Sojourners of the In-Between. Copyright © 2020 by Gregory Djanikian. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Carnegie Mellon University Press, www.cmu.edu/universitypress.(buy now)
Today is the birthday of author George Saunders (1958) (books by this author). He was born in Amarillo, Texas, and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. He always wanted to be a writer, but he viewed college as a place to learn a trade, so he majored in geophysical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. His engineering background gave him a taste for functionality and efficiency in prose as well. “I really like lean prose,” he said, “stuff that just does what it’s supposed to and gets out of there.” He’s written several short stories and novellas, and his most recent novel was Lincoln in the Bardo (2017).
It’s the birthday of the artist Georges Seurat, born in Paris in 1859. He painted huge canvases with tiny dots of many colors, and this technique became known as Pointillism. His most famous painting is Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which took him about two years to paint.
Today is the birthday of American novelist and essayist Ann Patchett (Los Angeles, 1963) (books by this author), best known for her novel Bel Canto (2002), which begins with 57 men, 18 terrorists, and an opera singer holed up in a Peruvian mansion. It was inspired by the four-month-long, 1996 Peruvian hostage crisis. About the novel’s grand scope, Patchett says, “I’d always heard that melodrama is a bad thing in a novel, so I thought, what if I go all in?”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®