A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the McCain Auditorium in Manhattan, Kansas with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Nashville with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Audubon’s The Birds of America, Color-Plate 211
by Margaret Hasse
If you, too, dream to be born again
as a bird, wouldn’t you want to be
a great blue heron, rare vagrant
wintering in the Azores and coastal Spain,
snacking on shrimp while wading
on long, beautiful legs? And if
you loved your life as a human who
sheltered in a small house by a lake, you
could summer there again, nesting
in the white pine, fishing on the shore
in the blue Zen of stillness when early
morning ambers the eastern sky.
Margaret Hasse, “Audubon’s The Birds of America, Color-Plate 211” from Summoned. © 2021 Margaret Hasse published by Nodin Press. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of true-crime writer William Roughead (books by this author). Born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1870), Roughead was a lawyer who was so fascinated by murder cases he became an expert criminologist by researching and writing narrative accounts of the trials he witnessed at the High Court of Edinburgh.
He published his first anthology, Twelve Scots Trials, in 1913. Although hard facts and meticulous reconstructions of evidence were the foundation of Roughead’s tales, he was also known for pulpy ironic prose, and he drew admiration from writers like Henry James and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had reserved a special shelf near at hand to the Oval Office just for his books.
Despite his dry humor and use of irony, Roughead’s long study of criminal depravity never turned him pessimistic. As he explained it, “The study of criminology has by no means made me a cynic; it has encouraged my admiration for the ingenuity of the human race.”
It’s the birthday of landscape painter Grant Wood, born near Anamosa, Iowa (1891), who is known for the iconic portrait of a farmer and his spinster sister, American Gothic (1930), which, along with the Mona Lisa, is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world.
Wood grew up in Cedar Rapids, attended art schools in Minneapolis and Chicago, then traveled to Europe to study Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting. There he first encountered the work of Jan Van Eyck, the 15th-century Flemish artist, and was struck by how the painter achieved great depth and detail in his works by layering thin glazes of color. When Wood returned to Iowa he was determined to incorporate that kind of clarity into his own work, which is evident in the stylized fields and rolling hills of paintings like Midwest Vineyard and in the lit scenes and elongated shadows of Death on Ridge Road (1935) and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1931).
Returning to Iowa had really been the formative experience of Wood’s life. He’d cast himself in the role of a Midwestern farmer from the mythical farmland he was creating, always posing for photographs in a pair of overalls and becoming a champion of regionalism in the arts, explaining that, despite his travels and European training, he’d “realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.”
It’s the birthday of novelist Georges Simenon (books by this author) born in Liége, Belgium (1903). He’s one of the most prolific writers of all time, best known for his detective novels featuring Inspector Maigret. He wrote some 400 books, which sold more than 1.4 billion copies from 1935 to 1997. Each book took him on average eight days to write.
It’s the birthday of religious historian Elaine Pagels (books by this author), born in Palo Alto, California (1943). She’s a professor at Princeton and she’s most famous for her work on early Christian texts, especially the Gnostic Gospels — writings about Jesus from the second to fourth centuries. She won the National Book Award for her 1979 study The Gnostic Gospels (1979) which the Modern Library named as one of the 100 best books of the 20th century.
The Gnostic Gospels begins:
“‘Jesus Christ rose from the grave.’ With this proclamation, the Christian church began. This may be the fundamental element of Christian faith; certainly it is the most radical.”
Her other books include Adam, Eve and the Serpent (1988), The Origin of Satan (1995), Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas (2003), Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity (2007), and most recently Why Religion? A Personal Story (2018).
It’s the birthday of one of Sudan’s most celebrated fiction writers, Ali El-Maak, born in Omdurman, Sudan, on this day in 1937. After studying art at Khartoum University and public administration at the University of Southern California he worked in academia and wrote short stories in Arabic. He also translated a lot of American literature into Arabic, including stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles Baxter.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®