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+
Who Shows Up at My Poetry Reading
by Kenneth Ronkowitz
A guy I went to college with who lives in town
and introduced himself before the reading with, “I guess you’re still writing that poetry stuff.”
A few of those people who spend some of every day wandering around a library or bookstore
but never read, buy or borrow books.
That person who has been stalking me online.
Someone from the staff who just came in for the refreshments,
but feels uncomfortable about walking out until I finish this poem.
A woman who has been on her phone the entire time I have been reading,
but took a photo of me.
Other poets who are not really listening to me read
because they are getting ready for the open reading after I finish.
The woman who invited me and mispronounced my name in her introduction.
Someone with a young child which made me decide not to read one of the poems I had marked.
Two friends who do not really like poetry
but want to be supportive, and say at the end, “So, this is what you do.”
And you, who is listening intently
and wants to say something afterwards
about one poem I read
that seems so much like your own life
that you wonder if we have ever met before.
“Who Shows Up at My Poetry Reading” by Kenneth Ronkowitz. Used with permission of the author.
It was on this day in 1764 that the city of St. Louis was founded on the Mississippi River.
Tennessee Williams grew up in St. Louis and hated the city. He called it “that dreaded city” and “the City of St. Pollution.”
Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis. In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she wrote:
“The Negro section of St. Louis in the mid-thirties had all the finesse of a gold-rush town. Prohibition, gambling and their related vocations were so obviously practiced that it was hard for me to believe that they were against the law.”
The British poet T.S. Eliot was actually born in St. Louis, which he left at the age of 16. He wrote later: “I feel that there is something in having passed one’s childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those who have not […] the Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any other part of the world.”
It’s the birthday of scientist and writer Galileo Galilei, born in Pisa, Italy (1564), who defended the scientific belief that the Earth was not the center of the Universe and was tried by the Roman Inquisition for heresy.
Galileo was a mathematics professor at Padua when he first heard about a new invention from the Netherlands, the telescope. He couldn’t get his hands on one to even look at, so worked out the mechanics on his own. The spyglass everyone had been talking about could magnify objects to three times their original size. The instrument Galileo made with lenses he ground himself magnified all the way up to 20 times. He was able to see the valleys and mountains of the moon, the Milky Way, and to discover four moons of Jupiter. In 1610, Galileo published the story of his telescope and the results of his studies as The Starry Messenger.
Galileo had been corresponding with German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who also believed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. Galileo was tried and convicted by the Church for heresy, but he was never tortured or excommunicated; he remained a loyal Catholic his entire life.
It’s the birthday of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, born in Adams, Massachusetts (1820). Anthony and her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton led the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. in the late 1800s. From 1892 to 1900, Anthony acted as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
On this date in 2001, a working draft of the human genome was published in the journal Nature. This draft covered about 83 percent of the genome. The entire Human Genome Project was completed in April 2003 — two years ahead of schedule.
Scientists had expected to find that humans had more than 100,000 genes; it turns out we have only about 20,000 to 30,000 — about the same as mice.