St. Michael, MN
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JULY 4, 2021, 4:00 PM SUMMERFIELD AMPHITHEATER 4300 O’Day Ave. NE, St. Michael, MN 55376 $42/$15 Outside concert FAQs In 2021 we are going bigger, better, bolder, and in the […]
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director July 2, 2021, 7:30 PM BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA, BAYFIELD, WI Reserved $60/$52/$42 The Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua is a 900-seat music venue and performing arts center, located near […]
Stillwater, MN 6-30
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director June 30, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, AND SHOW […]
Just Added: Stillwater, MN 6-29
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JUST ADDED June 29, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, […]
by Nikki Giovanni
Backing out the driveway
the car lights cast an eerie glow
in the morning fog centering
on movement in the rain slick street
Hitting brakes I anticipate a squirrel or a cat or sometimes
a little raccoon
I once braked for a blind little mole who try though he did
could not escape the cat toying with his life
Mother-to-be possum occasionally lopes home … being
naturally … slow her condition makes her even more ginger
We need a sign POSSUM CROSSING to warn coffee-gurgling
we share the streets with more than trucks and vans and
All birds being the living kin of dinosaurs
think themselves invincible and pay no heed
to the rolling wheels while they dine
on an unlucky rabbit
I hit brakes for the flutter of the lights hoping it’s not a deer
or a skunk or a groundhog
coffee splashes over the cup which I quickly put away from me
and into the empty passenger seat
I look …
relieved and exasperated …
to discover I have just missed a big wet leaf
struggling … to lift itself into the wind
“Possum Crossing” from Quilting the BlackEyed Pea by Nikki Giovanni. © 2002 Nikki Giovanni. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of poet Nikki Giovanni (books by this author), born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1943. Her given name was Yolande Cornelia Giovanni; her older sister nicknamed her “Nikki.” Nobody remembers why. She published her first two collections of poems a year after graduating college, eventually writing about everything from Black power to sex to her childhood in a close-knit family. Her second book, Black Judgement, sold 6,000 copies in three months — nearly six times as much as a poetry book was expected to sell at the time. She has published more than two dozen books of poetry and essays, plus 11 children’s books. Perhaps her most unusual honor was having a species of South American bat named after her. In 1987 Giovanni got a teaching job at Virginia Tech and never left.
“Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. … If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.”
In her online biography, she says she was lucky she sniffled a lot as a child because it meant she got to stay home from school and read. She said:
“Mommy had a wonderful library. Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, John Hershey, but she also had trashy books that she kept in the back of her closet. I remember a nun once saying to me that Black Boy by Richard Wright was a bad book. I knew better, but I thank her for letting me know just because you are grown and a nun you don’t necessarily know what is a good from a bad book.”
Her poem “I Wrote a Good Omelet” opens with these lines:
“I wrote a good omelet … and ate
a hot poem … after loving you.”
(from Love Poems, published by William Morrow, 1997)
It’s the birthday of the novelist Louise Erdrich (books by this author) born in Little Falls, Minnesota (1954). She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, the eldest of seven children. Her father came from a family of German immigrants and her mother was French Ojibwe and both her parents taught in the school run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
She went on to Dartmouth, admitted into the first class that accepted women — and it was also the first year a Native American Studies Department was formed. Her first novel, Love Medicine (1984), was a bestseller and won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Love Medicine was made up of many different stories told by all kinds of people living in and around a fictional reservation outside the town of Argus, North Dakota. Her second novel, The Beet Queen (1986), was set in the town of Argus and focused on the German American population there. Since then she has set most of her novels in this same fictional place, novels like The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001), The Master Butchers Singing Club (2003), and The Plague of Doves (2008), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
“It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret. That’s how one has to write anyway — in secret.”
Erdrich has written 28 books, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books. Her most recent book is a work of historical fiction entitled of The Night Watchman (2020).
It’s the birthday of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (books by this author), born in Istanbul in 1952, where he grew up in a fairly wealthy and Westernized district. He studied architecture and then journalism, but at 23 years old he decided to become a novelist. He lived with his mother and wrote full time, and seven years later he published his first novel, Cevdet Bey and His Sons (1982). He’s worked as a novelist for more than 30 years and has never held any other kind of job. And apart from three years he spent in New York, he’s lived his entire life in the Istanbul district of his birth.
In 2005, Pamuk gave an interview in which he made remarks about the Armenian Genocide and the mass killing of tens of thousands of Kurds. He said, “Thirty thousand Kurds have been killed here, and a million Armenians. And almost nobody dares to mention that. So I do.” Criminal charges were filed against Pamuk in Turkey and his statements resulted in a new law making it illegal to make anti-Turkish remarks. There was an international outcry, and several noted authors — including Gabriel García Márquez, Umberto Eco, John Updike, and Günter Grass — spoke out in Pamuk’s defense. The charges were dropped early in 2006.
Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in the same year, 2006. He has sold over thirteen million books in sixty-three languages.
His recent books include Silent House (2012), A Strangeness of My Mind (2015), The Red-Haired Woman (2017), and Balkon (2019).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®