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
Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 11 in Joliet, IL Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 10 in Ottumwa Iowa Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
by Connie Wanek
Someone had to do the dirty work,
spading the garden, moving mountains,
keeping the darkness out of the light,
and she took every imperfection personally.
Mr. Big Ideas, sure,
but someone had to run the numbers.
Then talk about babies: he never imagined
That was part of his charm, of course,
his frank amazement at consequences.
The pretty songs he gave the finches:
those spoke to his
innocence, his ability to regard
every moment as fresh. “Let’s give them
free will and see what happens.”
he said, ever the optimist.
Connie Wanek, “Mrs. God” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 2016 used with permission of the Board of Regents of University of Nebraska Press. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Mary Hays McCauley, better known by her nickname, Molly Pitcher, born near Trenton, New Jersey, in 1754 — some sources say 1744. When her husband joined the Revolutionary War effort as a gunner she followed him to Valley Forge, carrying a pitcher of water back and forth to the frontline soldiers at the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey. Women often volunteered alongside their husbands in the war, serving as unofficial cooks, maids, and nurses. As legend has it she commandeered her husband’s cannon at Monmouth after he collapsed in the summer heat. A soldier who witnessed the battle wrote in his diary that the woman was nearly struck by a British cannon. The diary reads, “While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat.” Molly Pitcher said, “Well, that could have been worse.” There is a Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey turnpike.
It’s the birthday of Harlem Renaissance writer Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps (books by this author), born in Alexandria, Louisiana (1902). For three generations all the men in his family had been brick masons but after his mother’s death when he was 12 his father sent him to a private school where he was the only black student. He went on to be the first member of his family to get a college degree, but his father was furious that he chose to study literature instead of medicine or law. After he graduated from college he moved to New York City because, he said, he wanted to see what all the excitement was about. The excitement was the Harlem Renaissance and he quickly became friends with writers like Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and James Weldon Johnson. They encouraged him to publish his poetry and fiction and his first novel, God Sends Sunday, came out in 1931.
His second novel, Black Thunder (1936), was about an actual slave uprising and many people consider it his masterpiece. After Bontemps’s third novel got terrible reviews he gave up writing fiction and got a job as the chief librarian at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He used his authority as a librarian to build up one of the best collections of African-American literature anywhere at the time and he went on to become one of the most important anthologizers of African-American literature, editing books such as The Poetry of the Negro 1746–1949 (1949) and The Book of Negro Folklore (1958). Much of the literature that he preserved and anthologized might have been lost without him.
It’s the birthday of Margaret Thatcher (books by this author), the first woman to lead a major Western democracy when she became the prime minister of the United Kingdom in May of 1979. Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts (1925) in Grantham, a small town in eastern England. Her father owned two grocery shops and the family lived above one of them.
It’s the birthday of singer and songwriter Paul Simon (works by this songwriter) born in Newark, New Jersey (1941). Simon and Garfunkel recorded their first folk album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, in 1964 but it only sold a few thousand copies. They figured their career was probably over, but, unbeknown to Simon and Garfunkel, their record label had added electric guitars to the song “The Sounds of Silence” and released it as a single. They had just moved back in with their parents and were sitting in Simon’s car, wondering what to do next, when they heard the song come on the radio, and the DJ said it had gone to No. 1. Simon turned to Garfunkel and said, “That Simon and Garfunkel, they must be having a great time.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®