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+
Driving All Night
by Gary J. Whitehead
First, there are the songs on the stations you love
and the two of you dancing in your seats,
thumbs keeping time on the wheel,
windows half-way down, the sun sinking
in the distance, and the city a gray, fading,
jagged line dividing the rearview mirror.
Then, the traffic thins, the smog clears,
the stations you love fizzle into static
and you switch to CDs, then MP3s.
Brake lights, two by two, veer off redly
to the right until, over the next hill,
nothing rolls before you but the yellow lines
in the short-sightedness of your low beams.
Now the smell of farms––alfalfa and hay,
cow pies and corn––and beyond the wind
of the cracked windows and moonroof
a seething of crickets and katydids.
Your lover asleep in the reclined seat,
you switch off the stereo and tune in
to the hum of the road, the rattle somewhere
in the dash, the flash and gale of a passing
tractor-trailer. You watch needle and gauge,
scan signs for rest stops or gas. You pinch
at crumbs of pretzels or chips in a greasy bag,
swig the last of the water. Miles and miles,
your head growing heavy, your back
beginning to ache, your plans second-guessed
or altogether regretted, a pumping like pistons
in your empty gut. What but the hoped-for
pinkening in the east to think of, then,
you who are driving, you who are driven
through the night, which is dark and long?
“Driving All Night” by Gary J. Whitehead from Strange What Rises. © Terrapin Books, 2019. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1775 that Patrick Henry gave a speech to the Second Virginia Convention, proposing that the colony arm itself against the king to fight for independence. Almost no one spoke openly of armed rebellion because it was considered treason against the king. Those convicted of treason could be sent back to England to be hanged. Patrick Henry spoke against the king as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. When he compared King George III to Brutus, the assassin of Caesar, someone in the House shouted, “Treason!” Henry responded, “If this be treason, then make the most of it.”
He took the floor on this day, in 1775, and made his most famous speech. Patrick Henry said: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
It’s the birthday of Gary Joseph Whitehead, (books by this author) born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (1965). He’s a poet, and he’s also cruciverbalist — that is, a person who constructs crossword puzzles. The crossword puzzles that he’s created have appeared in newspapers across the nation, including The New York Times.
He’s the author of several chapbooks of poetry, a couple of which won national awards. His first full-length collection came out in 2004; it’s called The Velocity of Dust. In 2005, he received a PEN grant, took a sabbatical from teaching, and moved to a remote cabin in the mountainous wilderness of southwestern Oregon to live in solitude for six-months and write what became Measuring Cubits While the Thunder Claps (2008). His most recent collection came out this year; it is called Strange What Rises.
It’s the birthday of the man who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in literature, French author Roger Martin du Gard, (books by this author) born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France (1881). His life’s work was chronicling the fictional Thibault family in a series of novels known as Les Thibault, which he published over the course of two decades, from 1922 to 1940. It’s considered a roman-fleuve, a French term that literally means “river-novel.” It refers to a series of novels written by one author that are about the same few characters (often family members) — usually a saga where the historical backdrop plays a prominent role in the fiction, and the author often provides a sort of running commentary on the era.
It’s the birthday of writer Louis Adamic (books by this author), born in Blato in what is now Slovenia (1899). He came from a family of farmers and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. He wrote about travel, the labor movement, immigrant life in America, and Eastern European politics in books like The Native’s Return (1934), Cradle of Life (1936), and Two-Way Passage (1941).
Louis Adamic said, “My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn.”
It’s the birthday of Fannie Merritt Farmer (books by this author), born in Boston (1857). She’s known for publishing the first cookbook in American history that came with simple, precise cooking instructions.
She compiled all the recipes she had ever learned, along with advice on how to set a table, scald milk, cream butter, remove stains, and clean a copper boiler. At first, all the publishers turned her down because they reasoned that these were all things young women could learn from their mothers. Finally, Little, Brown agreed to publish the book if Fannie Farmer would pay for the printing of the first 3,000 copies. It has sold millions of copies since.