Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
March 4 in Kent, OH Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor comes to The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to The Wayne Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM
High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
by Hank Hudepohl
Watching the night sky for the Pleiades meteor shower
from the back porch, nothing above but clouds and airplanes,
bug bites at our ankles, a sudden track of headlights
against the house, pet eyes peering out a window.
“Not a meteor in sight,” I say aloud to my daughters
and the nothingness above us, both of them standing
on the picnic table leaning back into me
like two armfuls of warm laundry, asking me about the night,
wondering what do stars look like up close?
where does the sky begin? how long does it take to get there?
while I hold them next to me in a patch of backyard
in America, my wristwatch illuminating
the hour, my thoughts lost in the gap of time
between this night and forever, the wonders beyond,
the heavens so near, questions so simple,
and the answers so far beyond my knowing.
Hank Hudepohl, “The Heavens” from Riverbank. Copyright © 2021 Hank Hudephol, published by Pine Row Press. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1942 that the first around-the-world commercial flight landed at La Guardia’s seaplane base. The Boeing 314 plane was named the Pacific Clipper, although it had originally been called the California Clipper.
Pan American Airways — commonly known as Pan Am — had started its trans-Pacific flight service in 1936. Passengers traveled on huge, luxurious airplanes, and these commercial flights became a favorite mode of transportation for wealthy Americans bound for Hawaii and other destinations in the South Seas. The Boeing 314s could carry 74 passengers (the industry standard was 14), and a large load of mail — Pan Am made half its money from carrying mail. The airplanes contained several separate passenger compartments with couches, thick walls so sound did not travel, a lounge, and even a bridal suite. For meals, passengers sat at tables covered in fine linens and fancy food was served on china plates. Most flights traveled only during the day and touched down at luxurious hotels for the night, but if an overnight flight was necessary the couches converted into beds. The Clippers were the pinnacle of luxury; Franklin Roosevelt celebrated his 61st birthday on one. The writer Clare Boothe Luce said, “Someday a Clipper Flight will be remembered as the most romantic voyage in history.”
Today is the birthday of E.L. Doctorow (books by this author), born in New York City (1931). He’s the author of The Book of Daniel (1971), which won the National Book Award, and Ragtime (1975). His most recent book is Andrew’s Brain, which was published in January, 2014. In 1986 Doctorow sat down with George Plimpton and the two of them discussed writing for The Paris Review. It’s the interview that gave rise to one of Doctorow’s most famous quotes: “[Writing is] like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” He also said, “I don’t want a style. […] I think that the minute a writer knows what his style is, he’s finished. Because then you see your own limits, and you hear your own voice in your head. At that point you might as well close up shop.”
On this date in 2001 George W. Bush was certified the winner of the 2000 presidential election. The race between the Republican Bush and his Democrat rival, Vice President Al Gore, was one of the closest presidential elections in history. It all came down to a collection of disputed Florida ballots. The nation watched as committees counted and recounted the punch-card ballots and determined whether the disputed hanging, dimpled, and pregnant chads — the little bits of card stock that are popped out by punching the ballot — were punched out sufficiently to convey the voter’s intent. Al Gore won the popular vote across the whole country, but when the Supreme Court voted five to four to stop Florida’s manual recount, the state’s electoral votes were awarded to Bush. He needed 270 electoral votes to clinch the election and Florida’s share of the Electoral College pushed him over the minimum to 271. Bush became the third president in the nation’s history to lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote. He took the oath of office two weeks later, on January 20.
It’s the birthday of novelist Elizabeth Strout (books by this author), born in Portland, Maine (1956), to a family that had lived in that state for eight generations. Her first novel, Amy and Isabelle (1998), was made into a TV movie by Oprah Winfrey. Her collection of linked short stories, Olive Kitteridge (2008), won the Pulitzer Prize as well as Italy’s Premio Bancarella award. She’s the first American author to win that prize since Ernest Hemingway. In between those two books, she wrote a best-seller, Abide with Me (2006). Strout’s latest work of fiction is Oh William! — a novel that came out in November 2021.
Strout said, “I write pieces, and move them around. And the fun of it is watching the truthful parts slide together. What is false won’t fit.”
Today is the birthday of Barry Lopez (books by this author). He was born in Port Chester, New York (1945), and grew up in Southern California and New York City. Writer of several books of nonfiction, often dealing with the relationship between human culture and the physical landscape, like Arctic Dreams (1986) and Of Wolves and Men (1978). He also wrote fiction; Lessons from the Wolverine (1997), and Resistance (2004). The final work published during his lifetime was an autobiographical travelogue, Horizon (2019). Lopez died on December 25, 2020.
Lopez wrote, “Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.”
Today is the birthday of poet Khalil Gibran (books by this author), born in the mountain village in Bsharri, Lebanon (1883). He lived in Boston, and that was where Alfred A. Knopf met him, who published Gibran’s book The Prophet in 1923. It didn’t sell well at first but gradually gained a readership, becoming especially popular in the 1960s. It was eventually translated into more than 30 languages. Gibran is now the third-best-selling poet in history, after William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.
The Prophet is often quoted at weddings (“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: / Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls”) and baptisms (“Your children are not your children. / They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. / They come through you but not from you, / And though they are with you they belong not to you”) and funerals (“When you are sorrowful look again in / your heart, and you shall see that in truth / you are weeping for that which has been / your delight”).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®