Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Frankfort, KY for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Maryville, TN for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Iola, KS for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Wichita, KS for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
by Ron Padgett
The older I get, the more I like hugging. When I was little, the people hugging me were much larger. In their grasp I was a rag doll. In adolescence, my body was too tense to relax for a hug. Later, after the loss of virginity—which was anything but a loss—the extreme proximity of the other person, the smell of hair, the warmth of the skin, the sound of breathing in the dark—these were mysterious and delectable. This hug had two primary components: the anticipation of sex and the pleasure of intimacy, which itself is a combination of trust and affection. It was this latter combination that came to characterize the hugging I have experienced only in recent years, a hugging that knows no distinctions of gender or age. When this kind of hug is mutual, for a moment the world is perfect the way it is, and the tears we shed for it are perfect too. I guess it is an embrace.
Ron Padgett, “Hug” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Ron Padgett. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Coffee House Press, coffeehousepress.com. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of the English-born Canadian poet Robert Service (books by this author), born in Preston, England (1874). It’s said that he wrote his first poem at six years old, in the form of a grace to be said over meals. It went, “God bless the cakes and bless the jam; / Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham; / Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes, / And save us all from bellyaches. Amen.”
He wrote his most famous poems while he was working for the Canadian Bank of Commerce in the Yukon Territory. He later wrote about World War I and other subjects, but his best-known and best-loved poems are the ballads he wrote about the Yukon. He published them in his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907).
Book One of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (books by this author) was published on this date in 1605. It’s considered to be the first modern novel. It’s about a middle-aged landowner from a village in La Mancha who stays awake at night reading books about chivalry, forgets to eat and sleep, insanely believes the tales to be true, and sets off on a skinny nag in a heroic quest to resurrect old-fashioned chivalry and heroism in the modern world.
From an English translation of Don Quixote: “All I know is that while I’m asleep, I’m never afraid, and I have no hopes, no struggles, no glories — and bless the man who invented sleep, a cloak over all human thought, food that drives away hunger, water that banishes thirst, fire that heats up cold, chill that moderates passion, and, finally, universal currency with which all things can be bought, weight and balance that brings the shepherd and the king, the fool and the wise, to the same level.”
It’s the birthday of poet and memoirist Mary Karr (books by this author), born in Groves, Texas (1955). She had a rough childhood, growing up in a small town with alcoholic parents. Her mom was mentally unstable and used to escape from reality in books.
Karr has always thought of herself as a poet, and she’s published five books of poetry, including Abacus (1987), and Sinners Welcome (2006), and most recently Tropic of Squalor (2018). Her friend and mentor Tobias Wolff encouraged her to give memoir a try, and so — inspired by his memoir This Boy’s Life (1989) — she did. Her first, The Liar’s Club (1995), was so successful that she’s written two more: Cherry (2000) and Lit (2009). She subsequently wrote The Art of Memoir (2015).
She said, “Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.”
It’s the birthday of food writer Ruth Reichl (books by this author), born in New York City (1948). Her mom loved to cook, but she was terrible at it. Reichl’s brother once said he was amazed that he lived to the age of 25, and he called their mother “a menace to society.” The two of them would conspire to save guests from some of their mother’s more disastrous creations, and they would flush their lunches down the toilet when she wasn’t looking.
Reichl remembered: “My mother really would make these dreadful concoctions. She really prided herself on something called ‘Everything Stew,’ where she would take everything in the refrigerator, all the leftovers, and put them all together. One day I was watching her put in leftover turkey and broccoli and a little can of mushroom soup. And she’s throwing things in. And half an apple pie goes in. […] I’d sort of look at her and say: ‘Mom!’ And she says: ‘Oh, it’ll be fine.’ […] In defense, I started cooking, because I didn’t want to eat that.”
Reichl learned to be a great cook herself, and she also became a restaurant critic, coming up with a dozen different personas — and disguises — she would put on when she was going to review an eatery. She was the editor of Gourmet Magazine for 10 years, and she’s written many food-related books; her latest, Save Me the Plums, will be released this April.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®