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+
Hoarfrost and Fog
by Barton Sutter
I walk six blocks to the park.
Hoarfrost and fog and ten below zero,
A full twelve inches of snow.
No one believes in the mysteries
Anymore, but still once or twice
Every year this will happen:
Hoarfrost and fog and snow all at once.
I don’t often notice my breath,
But here I am breathing and breathing.
And here is a kid in a scarlet parka,
Pulling a sled through the sugarbush.
He knew all along this would happen.
I forget, and yet once, maybe twice a year,
We enter this other kingdom. We’re here.
And here is a woman so black
And slender and thin, I think of a statue
My friend brought back from Liberia.
She is wading around with a camera,
As if she could capture this hoarfrost
And fog that is softer than breath.
We smile. She hesitates, then decides
She will speak. She says, “Oh!
In my country where I come from
We have many amazing things,
But there is nothing like this!
I would like you if you take my picture?”
I fiddle with the little black box,
Back off, watch her smile and say,
“Can you fit all this everything
Inside the picture? Do you think it will show?”
”I don’t know,” I tell her. “I’ll try.”
My fingers are cold. The shutter is stiff,
But it clicks. The fruit tree behind her
Is heavy with frost, the apples are withered
But red. There is fog in the background,
The snow is nearly up to her knees.
I breathe, and I breathe, and I breathe.
Barton Sutter, “Hoarfrost and Fog” from The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems. © 1993 by Barton Sutter. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of BOA Editions Ltd., boaeditions.org (buy now)
On this day in 1968, country musician Johnny Cash recorded a live concert at Folsom Prison in California. Back in the early 1950s, while serving in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, Cash had seen a documentary on life inside the prison. This inspired him to write the song “Folsom Prison Blues,” with its haunting lines, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.” He included it on his debut album, With His Hot and Blue Guitar, in 1957, and began dreaming of some day playing the song live for the inmates there. In 1968, after a personnel shake up at his recording label, Cash pitched the idea to a new producer who loved the idea.
Two concerts were recorded that day. Released just four months after the concert, Live at Folsom Prison reached No. 1 on the country charts and was a huge pop crossover.
Cash said: “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”
It’s the birthday of short-story writer Lorrie Moore (books by this author), born in Glens Falls, New York (1957). She’s the author of the short-story collections Like Life (1990) and Birds of America (1998).
Lorrie Moore’s first book was Self Help (1985), in which the stories were written in the style of how-to manuals, including “How to Be an Other Woman,” “How to Talk to Your Mother,” and “How to Be a Writer.”
When she was once asked in an interview why she writes so often about characters who make lots of jokes, she said: “I feel that when you look out into the world, the world is funny. And people are funny. And that people always try to make each other laugh. I’ve never been to a dinner party where nobody said anything funny. If you’re going to ignore that [as a fiction writer], what are you doing?”
Moore’s most recent books are a collection of essays See What Can Be Done (2018) and Collected Stories (2020), a collection of 40 previously published stories.
It’s the birthday of the novelist Jay McInerney (books by this author), born in Hartford, Connecticut (1955). After college, he wound up in New York City, where he worked for Random House and got involved in the glamorous nightlife of fashion parties and dance clubs. Then, one day, one of his co-workers introduced him to the writer Raymond Carver, and Carver told him that if he ever wanted to be a writer he had to get out of the city and away from all the parties so that he would be able to think, and that’s what he did. He moved to Syracuse, New York, and in six weeks he wrote his first novel, Bright Lights, Big City (1983), loosely based on the glamorous New York lifestyle he’d just given up, and that book made him famous. It has sold more than a million copies.
He’s written several other novels, including Brightness Falls (1992), Model Behavior (1998), and most recently Bright, Precious Days (2016). He also writes for film and television, and has published three books on wine.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®