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
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to The Wayne Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM
High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet come to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:30 PM
by Eavan Boland
After a friend has gone I like the feel of it:
The house at night. Everyone asleep.
The way it draws in like atmosphere or evening.
One-o-clock. A floral teapot and a raisin scone.
A tray waits to be taken down.
The landing light is off. The clock strikes. The cat
comes into his own, mysterious on the stairs,
a black ambivalence around the legs of button-back
chairs, an insinuation to be set beside
the red spoon and the salt-glazed cup,
the saucer with the thick spill of tea
which scalds off easily under the tap. Time
is a tick, a purr, a drop. The spider
on the dining-room window has fallen asleep
among complexities as I will once
the doors are bolted and the keys tested
and the switch turned up of the kitchen light
which made outside in the back garden
an electric room—a domestication
of closed daisies, an architecture
instant and improbable.
Eavan Boland, “Nocturne” from An Origin Like Water. Copyright © 1987 W.W. Norton. Used by permission (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Shinichi Suzuki, born in Nagoya, Japan (1898). He’s the man who developed the Suzuki Violin Method, a way of teaching very young children to play classical music by listening and imitating, the way they learn to speak. His father had a violin factory and he and his brothers and sisters thought that violins were like boxes, that they were just toys; they never heard anybody play them. When Suzuki was 17 he heard a recording of Mischa Elman and was flabbergasted. He took a violin home and started to teach himself to play it by listening to other recordings and trying to imitate them. He began to feel that it ought to be possible to teach anyone to play that way and the little children he taught became proficient enough to make some listeners suspect he had gathered a bunch of prodigies together like a circus act. He felt strongly that he was not just tutoring musicians, but nurturing souls, and he encouraged his students to listen to other people as carefully as they listened to the notes on their violins.
On this date in 1604 Johannes Kepler (books by this author) witnessed the last supernova observed in the Milky Way. Kepler had figured out the laws of planetary motion and he knew the night sky like the face of an old friend, so he was surprised to see a very bright object in the western sky one night. Astronomers at that time thought they were witnessing the birth of a star, but a supernova is actually an explosion that signals its death instead. The exploding star had first been noted in northern Italy about a week before, but Kepler, who lived in Prague, was unable to see it until October 17 due to cloudy weather. He began studying it in earnest, recording observations of it for more than a year. He eventually wrote a book about it which he called On the new star in Ophiucus’s foot (1606). The telescope wouldn’t be invented for a few more years so all of Kepler’s observations were made by the naked eye. The supernova was so bright that it was visible during the day for three weeks.
Though astronomers have since observed several supernovae in other galaxies, this one — known as SN 1604, Kepler’s Supernova, or Kepler’s Star — is the last supernova observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Astronomers are still studying the supernova’s remnants with the help of NASA’s three Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The shockwave of gas and dust is still spreading through space at a speed of 400 million miles per hour.
Today is the birthday of playwright Arthur Miller (books by this author), born in New York City in 1915. His most famous play is Death of a Salesman (1949) about struggling salesman Willy Loman who was loosely based on Miller’s uncle, Manny Newman. He also wrote The Crucible (1952) which is a liberally fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. It’s also a thinly veiled indictment of McCarthyism and its communist “witch hunts.” Four years later Miller was hauled up before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to offer up any names of suspected communists.
“Poetry may seem an odd word for a witch-hunt,” he wrote in 2000, “but I saw there was something of the marvellous in the spectacle of a whole village, if not an entire province, whose imagination was captured by a vision of something that wasn’t there. […] More than a political metaphor, more than a moral tale, The Crucible, as it developed over more than a year, became the awesome evidence of the power of human imagination inflamed, the poetry of suggestion, and the tragedy of heroic resistance to a society possessed to the point of ruin.”
Today is the birthday of Syrian-American poet and author Mohja Kahf (books by this author). She was born in Damascus in 1967. She came to the United States when she was three years old; her parents were exchange students, and they moved to Utah to go to college. After they graduated the family moved to Indiana and eventually ended up in New Jersey when Kahf was in 10th grade. She studied comparative literature at Rutgers University, earning her doctorate. She married Najib Ghadbian, a prominent Syrian dissident, and when he accepted a position in the Political Science department at the University of Arkansas she applied for a post in the English department, where she still teaches.
She often writes about her experience as a Muslim woman in America, candidly, bluntly, and often satirically. Her poem “Hijab Scene #2” reads, “‘You people have such restrictive dress for women,’ she said, hobbling away in three inch heels and panty hose to finish out another pink-collar temp pool day.”
Kahf has published poetry, novels, and a scholarly work. Her latest is the poetry collection my lover feeds me grapefruit (2020). Her most popular is the novel The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006).
It’s the birthday of writer George Mackay Brown (books by this author), born in 1921 in Stromness, a fishing village on the Orkney Islands, which lie off the north coast of Scotland. He wrote poetry, essays, fiction, and travel books about Orcadian culture, history, and ritual. When he was young he was often ill, first with measles, and later, tuberculosis; he was often hospitalized or confined to his bed so he spent the time reading and writing. He studied literature and poetry near Edinburgh when his health permitted. His first book, Orcadians, was published locally in 1954; his first commercially published book was 1959’s Loaves and Fishes.
He told Contemporary Authors:
“I believe in dedicated work rather than in ‘inspiration’ […] I believe writing to be a craft like carpentry, plumbing, or baking […] In ‘culture circles,’ there is a tendency to look upon artists as the new priesthood of some esoteric religion. Nonsense — and dangerous nonsense moreover — we are all hewers of wood and drawers of water; only let us do it as thoroughly and joyously as we can.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®