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 Gary Johnson
Another workday morning. Eight a.m. A pale
Mist in the air. An air of mystery:
Will we persevere or must we fail
And join the famous lost souls of history?
Virginia Woolf, Bessie Smith, Maria Callas,
Franz Kafka, Judy Garland, Henry Thoreau,
Princess Diana alone in Kensington Palace.
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe.
Elegant, beautiful, and tragic indeed,
Considering the grief they’ve been through.
“To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need,”
Said Emily Dickinson. (She’s here, too.)
But you and I have each other, love, so don’t despair.
Let’s go outside and breathe the morning air.
Gary Johnson, “Another Year.” Copyright © 2021. Used by permission of the author.
It’s the birthday of actor Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of Count Dracula. Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugos, Hungary, in 1882. He ran away from home at age 12 and found acting work, among other odd jobs, coming to the United States in 1920. In 1927 he landed the role of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Broadway production. Three years later he starred in Universal Pictures film adaptation of the play — his heavy accent and cultured affect making the character scary and aristocratic. Lugosi later complained about being typecast as a monster, yet he was buried in his Dracula cape when he died, at his request.
Today is the birthday of Monica Ali (books by this author). She was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1967, to an English mother and a Bangladeshi father. The family moved to Manchester, England, when she was three years old. She dabbled in writing but felt constricted by the short-story format and tried to work up the courage to tackle a novel. She finally found the push she needed when her grandfather died. “There’s something galvanising about a funeral,” she told The Observer in 2003. “I felt the need to not put things off any longer. And I sent my husband outside with the little ones, and I drew the curtains against the sun, and I started then.” She’s the author of four novels; her first, Brick Lane (2003), was short-listed for the Man Booker prize and later made into a film in 2007. She was named one of Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists” before the book was even released, based on a peek at the unpublished manuscript that was making the rounds. Her latest published novel is Untold Story (2011).
Love Marriage is scheduled for publication in 2022.
It’s the birthday of poet Robert Pinsky (books by this author), born in Long Branch, New Jersey (1940). Long Branch was a town of Italian immigrant families, and he came from a well-known family in the town — one of his grandfathers owned a bar and was a popular bootlegger; the other grandfather washed the windows of downtown stores. Robert Pinsky wasn’t a very good student, but he liked poetry, and during college he taped a handwritten copy of “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats onto his wall. He met a group of writers at Rutgers and started focusing on writing his own poems, and he went on to publish books of poetry and also translations. He is probably most famous for his translation of Dante’s Inferno (1994). He said, “I literally could not stop working on it. We have pillowcases stained with ink where my wife took the pen out of my hand at night.” His translation won awards, it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and it was even a best-seller.
He served as the U.S. poet laureate from 1997 to 2000 and he started something called the Favorite Poem Project. He said, “If a poem is written well, it was written with the poet’s voice and for a voice. Reading a poem silently instead of saying a poem is like the difference between staring at sheet music and actually humming or playing the music on an instrument.” So he organized hundreds of poetry readings all over the country, where people from that city or town would come and get up on stage and read their favorite poem, or a poem that was meaningful for some reason, and maybe say a few words about why they had chosen it, and he created an archive of audio and video recordings of people doing the same thing
His most recent poetry collection is The Book of Poetry for Hard Times (2021).
It’s the birthday of humorist Lewis McDonald Grizzard (books by this author), born in Fort Benning, Georgia (1946). His humor centered on his Southern upbringing, particularly in stories about his hometown of Moreland, Georgia. At the peak of his career he wrote a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that was syndicated in 450 newspapers. His books include They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat (1982), Don’t Bend Over In the Garden, Granny — You Know Them Taters Got Eyes (1988), and I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962 and Other Nekkid Truths (1992).
He said, “Never order barbeque in a place that also serves quiche,” and “In the south there’s a difference between ‘Naked’ and ‘Nekkid.’ ‘Naked’ means you don’t have any clothes on. ‘Nekkid’ means you don’t have any clothes on … and you’re up to somethin’.”
It’s the birthday of the poet Arthur Rimbaud (books by this author), born in Charleville, France (1854). He began writing poems as a teenager that were as good as anything being written in France. He became friends with the elder poet Paul Verlaine, whose work he admired, and Verlaine invited him to stay at his house. When he arrived Rimbaud had his first masterpiece in his pocket, a poem called “The Drunken Boat” (1871), describing the journey of an empty boat as it wanders the ocean and eventually breaks apart. Rimbaud and Verlaine fell into a love affair that shocked the rest of the Paris literary scene. But they had a bitter break-up, and the relationship ended when Verlaine tried to murder Rimbaud with a pistol, shooting him in the arm.
Verlaine went to prison and Rimbaud went back to live with his mother where he wrote one of his last books, A Season in Hell (1873), which some critics consider his farewell to poetry. He wrote, “I tried to invent new flowers, new stars, new flesh, new tongues. … I am returned to the soil with a duty to seek and rough reality to embrace. … At last, I shall ask forgiveness for having fed on lies.”
Rimbaud had been 16 when he started publishing his poetry and he was 19 when gave up on poetry and took off to wander around the world, winding up in Africa, where he became an arms dealer. He kept writing letters to his family but he never wrote another poem and never gave any hint that he missed poetry. A cult grew up in Paris around the few books of poetry he had published and years before his death people already referred to him as the late Arthur Rimbaud.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®