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 and Dan Chouinard 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
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Torrance, CA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
COMFORT OF THE RESURRECTION
by Kim Addonizio
One day everything that’s over or dead
will come back, oil painting & God,
chivalry & the kings (even the mad
old rotters, why not, while the heads
of the plotters are removed
from their iron spikes & carefully glued
on again)— why not believe in the miracle— plaid
has already come back so why not the starved
& flooded corpses, why not fresh bread
from charred toast, aren’t the grubbers in the cupboard
constantly churning up from the charnel the old
ingredients, holy seed, holy blood,
nothing is ever destroyed,
but tell that to Marianna whose child
lived for three days brainless & blind
close by cheap factories on the filthy Rio Grande,
tell it to all the ruined & annulled
residents of the earth, everything
& everyone will be restored
& immortal diamonds will soon be yours.
Kim Addonizio, “Comfort of the Resurrection” from Now We’re Getting Somewhere. Published by W.W. Norton and used by permission of Massie and & McQuilkin Literary Agents. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of poet Allen Ginsberg (1926) (books by this author). He was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Paterson. His father, Louis, was a poet and high school teacher; his mother, Naomi, was a communist and a paranoid schizophrenic. Naomi and Allen were very close; when she was in the grip of her delusions he was the only one she trusted and he often accompanied her to her therapy appointments. She spent much of his childhood institutionalized. Ginsberg spent eight months in a mental institution himself in the late 1940s when he was arrested for harboring stolen goods; he chose to plead insanity.
He went to Columbia University, first intending to study law, but during his freshman year he met Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs. He later said:
“I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs — when I was 17 — that I realized I was talking through an empty skull … I wasn’t thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.”
Ginsberg left Columbia in 1948, traveled, and worked some odd jobs, and in 1954 he moved to San Francisco. He met poet Peter Orlovsky there; they fell in love and were partners until Ginsberg’s death. In October, 1955 Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” at the Six Gallery. The next day bookstore owner and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti sent him a telegram quoting Emerson’s letter to Whitman: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” “Howl,” which was written to be read aloud, revived oral poetry. Ginsberg said that it, along with the rest of his work, was autobiographical and that at its core was his pain at dealing with his mother’s schizophrenia.
His mother died in 1956; two days later he received a letter from her in the mail in which she had written, “The key is in the window, the key is in the sunlight at the window — I have the key — Get married Allen don’t take drugs — the key is in the bars, in the sunlight in the window.” He had wanted to have a kaddish — the Jewish mourners’ prayer — recited at her funeral, but there weren’t enough Jewish men present, so he wrote his poem “Kaddish” (1961) in reparation:
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school, and learning to be mad, in a dream — what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window — and the great Key lays its head of light on top of
Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the sidewalk — in a single vast
beam, moving, as I walk down First toward the Yiddish Theater — and the place of
you knew, and I know, but without caring now […]
He said, “Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does.”
Today is the birthday of the “founding mother of the historical romance genre, Kathleen Woodiwiss (1939) (books by this author), born Kathleen Erin Hogg in Alexandria, Louisiana. She met her future husband, Air Force Lieutenant Ross Woodiwiss, at a dance when she was 16 and they eloped. She worked part-time as a fashion model and saved her money to buy a typewriter, which she gave to her husband one Christmas. She told him it was for him to write his poetry on; she really bought it for herself, and she worked on her first novel, The Flame and the Flower, during his absences, afraid to tell him what she was up to. The hefty manuscript was turned down eight times, but then she sent it to some paperback publishers; an editor at Avon, raiding the slush pile for something to read on a rainy afternoon, was captivated, and the book sold 600,000 copies on its publication in 1972.
Woodiwiss single-handedly remade the romance genre, setting the standard for nearly every bodice-ripper to follow. Previously, romance novels had been pretty thin, literally and figuratively. Her books were often 700 pages long, heavily plotted, and full of carefully researched historical detail and steamy sex scenes. Her heroines were strong and dynamic, considering the genre and the time period.
Woodiwiss wrote 12 more books after The Flame and the Flower, taking her time on each one to get the historical details right. She died of cancer in 2007 and her last book, Everlasting, was published posthumously.
It’s the birthday of a novelist who said, “Being a writer and a Texan is an amusing fate.” That’s Larry McMurtry (books by this author), born in Archer City, Texas (1936). Archer City was a small town, and his parents and grandparents were cattle ranchers. He said, “I grew up in a bookless town, in a bookless part of the state.” When he was six years old his cousin stopped through on the way to enlist in the Army and left behind a box of 19 books, and McMurtry’s love of reading began.
He knew that cattle ranching was not for him, and eventually he went to Rice University. He said, “When I stepped into a university library, at age 18, the whole of the world’s literature lay before me unread, a country as vast, as promising, and, so far as I knew, as trackless as the West must have seemed to the first white men who looked upon it.” At Rice, McMurtry began writing stories. He published a few in the student magazine, but he felt that most of them weren’t very good, and he destroyed more than 50 stories. After graduation he set out to write a novel, and he returned to one of the stories he had liked best: a story about a herd of cattle infected with hoof-and-mouth disease. He wrote a long novel that he revised over and over, eventually trimming it down to 245 pages. He was just 25 years old when it was published as Horseman, Pass By (1961). His first novel was well received and won an award from the Texas Institute of Letters. A couple of years later it was made into the film Hud (1963) with Paul Newman. McMurtry wanted to challenge the romanticism of the West. He said, “I’m a critic of the myth of the cowboy. I don’t feel that it’s a myth that pertains, and since it’s a part of my heritage I feel it’s a legitimate task to criticize it.’’
He wrote 10 books, including The Last Picture Show (1966) and Terms of Endearment (1975), both of which were made into successful movies. He was still not particularly famous; he liked to wear a sweatshirt that someone had given him, which was stenciled with the words “Minor Regional Novelist.” Then he decided to write a novel that would help him understand his own father and grandfather better, an epic novel that drew on all the characters and myths of the Old West. He used the landscape of his grandfather’s ranch, with its house on a hill looking out at the plains. He said:
“It’s still such a strong landscape for me. I can’t escape it in my fiction. I can work away from it, but I always start here. And whatever place I’m writing about, I’m still describing this same hill.”
When he published Lonesome Dove (1985), the book was a huge best-seller: it sold 300,000 copies in hardback and 1.2 million in paperback and won a Pulitzer Prize. It was also made into a hit miniseries.
McMurtry moved to Washington, D.C., and opened up a bookstore of rare and used books called Booked Up. Then he had a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and afterward he suffered from terrible depression. He said, “I faded out of my life. Suddenly I found myself becoming an outline, and then what was within that outline vanished.” He could barely get up from the couch for a year. He didn’t even want to read, but the one thing he continued to do was write, for an hour or two each morning. Finally that writing turned into a book, Streets of Laredo (1993), a sequel to Lonesome Dove. When his depression got better he moved back to Archer City and opened another rare bookstore there.
He wrote more than 30 novels, 14 works of nonfiction, several films and episodes of television before his death in March of this year at the age of 84.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®