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
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
Palm Desert, CA
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Palm Desert, CA for a performance of holiday songs, humor and The News from Lake Wobegon.
Town Hall, New York City
A Prairie Home Companion American Revival comes to Town Hall in New York City with Christine DiGiallonardo, Heather Masse, Rob Fisher and the Demitasse Orchestra, Rich Dworsky, Walter Bobbie, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Three Songs at the End of Summer
by Jane Kenyon
A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.
Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.
Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”
Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.
Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.
The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.
Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?
A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket…
In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.
The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.
I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.
Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.
Jane Kenyon, “Three Songs at the End of Summer” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by The Estate of Jane Kenyon. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Jimmy Carter (books by this author), born in Plains, Georgia (1924), the first American president to be born in a hospital. He grew up in a house where everyone brought a book to the dinner table and then the family sat there together at dinner eating and reading in silence. He started selling boiled peanuts from a red wagon by the side of the road when he was six, around the same age that he started winning all sorts of prizes for being the top reader in his rural grade school.
He played basketball in high school, joined the Future Farmers of America club, and went off to the United States Naval Academy where he taught Sunday school to the officer’s kids and graduated 59th in his class of 820. While in the Navy he did graduate work in nuclear physics. Then, after his dad died, he left the Navy and took over the family peanut farming business. For awhile, he was a wealthy peanut farmer.
He became governor of Georgia, but he wasn’t very well known around the nation, and when he first threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic primaries of the 1976 presidential election, only 2 percent of Americans recognized his name. When he told his mom he was going to run for president, she replied, “President of what?”
He decided he would write a book to help the nation know who he was and where he was coming from and what he stood for — a candidate autobiography. He wrote it on the campaign trail, scribbling paragraphs on yellow notepads during airplane rides and in hotels. He took it to a bunch of small publishers in Georgia but they all rejected the manuscript. Finally he convinced a small press in Nashville that specialized in Southern Baptist books to publish his book. After he won the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries that book — Why Not the Best? (1975) — sold about a million copies. It has since been reissued.
Carter defeated Gerald Ford and took office during an energy crisis. He wore sweaters and told Americans to turn down the heat. In one of his last acts in office he signed a House Bill bailing out a failing American car company, the Chrysler Corporation.
When he got back to Georgia he found that his farm, which he placed in a blind trust upon election, was suddenly a million dollars in debt. He sold the farm and then, to make ends meet and save their home, he and Rosalynn each signed separate book contracts to write memoirs.
He sat down and wrote for eight to 10 hours a day, drawing on diaries he kept while in the Oval office, typewritten notes that amounted to 6,000 pages. When he could not stand sitting down at the typewriter anymore he went to his woodworking shop and made furniture — things like tables and chairs and cabinets. He ended up with more than 30 pieces of furniture in the time in took him to write that first post-presidential book, which was published in 1982 as Keeping Faith.
He’s now the author of about two dozen books, including An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood (2001), Our Endangered Values (2005), Palestine Peace Not Apartheid (2006), A Remarkable Mother (2008), and Beyond the White House (2008).
He likes to fly-fish and ride his bicycle. He continues to teach Sunday school. He reads just about every new book written about the U.S. presidency. He adores poet Dylan Thomas and has read two dozen biographies about the man. He writes his own poetry now. In 2002 he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
“A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®