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
A Pot of Red Lentils
by Peter Pereira
simmers on the kitchen stove.
All afternoon dense kernels
surrender to the fertile
juices, their tender bellies
swelling with delight.
In the yard we plant
rhubarb, cauliflower, and artichokes,
cupping wet earth over tubers,
our labor the germ
of later sustenance and renewal.
Across the field the sound of a baby crying
as we carry in the last carrots,
whorls of butter lettuce,
a basket of red potatoes.
I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.
Peter Pereira, “A Pot of Red Lentils” from Saying the World. Copyright © 2003 by Peter Pereira. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC, on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, coppercanyonpress.org. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of poet Denise Levertov (books by this author), born in Ilford, England (1923). She decided to become a poet but she didn’t want to go to graduate school. Instead she got her nurse’s training and spent three years as a civilian nurse during the Blitz in London. She liked the work itself but she didn’t like the structure — she was just 19 years old and she had been homeschooled her whole life. She said, “I didn’t like the strain of taking even the one and only examination that I ever took in my life, and I didn’t like the way in which one’s personal life was regulated. I was always crawling in and out of windows to avoid curfews!” She wrote poems each night after her shift at the hospital, and published her first book, The Double Image (1946). She met and married an American poet, Mitchell Goodman, and after the war they moved to the United States.
One of the poets she admired most was William Carlos Williams (books by this author). In 1951, Levertov send Williams a fan letter; she was in her late 20s, and he was 68, recovering from his first stroke. After exchanging letters for a while she took a bus up to his hometown of Rutherford, New Jersey, to see him. Williams was a warm and receptive host and, after that, she would go to visit him a couple of times a year. She would arrive in time for lunch with Williams and his wife, Flossie, then spend a few hours reading him her poetry, sometimes reading his poetry aloud, and chatting about people they both knew. Williams became Levertov’s mentor and they exchanged letters until his death in 1962.
Levertov published more than 20 books of poetry, including With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads (1959), The Freeing of the Dust (1975), Breathing in the Water (1984), and The Life Around Us (1997).
She said, “Strength of feeling, reverence for mystery, and clarity of intellect must be kept in balance with one another. Neither the passive nor the active must dominate, they must work in conjunction, as in a marriage,” and “I’m not very good at praying, but what I experience when I’m writing a poem is close to prayer.”
It’s the birthday of Broadway playwright Moss Hart (books by this author), born in a tenement house in Manhattan (1904). He said, “I grew up in an atmosphere of unrelieved poverty.” His aunt Kate was as poor as the rest of the family but she always tried to live beyond her means, and among her indulgences were trips to the theater. She often took her nephew along and he was dazzled. He had to drop out of high school to work in a factory and help support his family but he took any theater odd job he could find, including working in a booking office. One summer he was hired as the social director for an adult summer camp for New Yorkers who wanted to escape to the Catskills. His job description involved “borrowing” material from hit Broadway plays and then reproducing it for the campers. So he would wait outside theaters until intermission and then nonchalantly mingle in with paying audience members and sneak in for the second half figuring that most shows saved their best material for the end. He wrote and performed plays, sketches, dances, songs, and monologues.
Through his work at the summer camp he met a young businessman named Joseph Hyman who was so impressed with Hart’s talent that he lent him $200 as an investment in his writing. Hyman also found jobs for Hart’s father and brother so that the young man would not have to support them anymore. Hart wrote a comedy about the new era of Broadway, since the arrival of sound; it was all right, but not great, and a producer suggested that he collaborate with established playwright George S. Kaufman (books by this author). The two men hit it off, and when the play Once in a Lifetime (1930) was produced, it was a success.
Hart and Kaufman went on to collaborate on hit plays like You Can’t Take It With You(1936) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). Hart also directed plays — the most famous was the musical My Fair Lady (1956)— and wrote screenplays for films, including Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and Hans Christian Andersen (1952). He won a Pulitzer Prize for You Can’t Take It With You and was dubbed “the Prince of Broadway.” He made enough money to afford an 87-acre estate in Aquetong, Pennsylvania. One of his friends said, “Shows you what God would have done if he’d had the money.” In 1959 he published the best-selling memoir Act One (1959) about his own rags-to-riches story.
In 1936 he married Southern belle Kitty Carlisle. After his death in 1961 his wife refused to let his diary be published. She died in 2007 and the diary turns out to be full of nasty comments, the type of comments that were totally absent from his autobiography. He described Dorothy Parker as “looking absolutely terrible […] bitter and acid,” Marlene Dietrich as “faded and a little cheap,” Mel Ferrer as “a rather woe-begone Cocker Spaniel,” Audrey Hepburn as “absolutely ruthless,” and Gene Kelley as “looking like a waiter.”
Moss Hart said:
“So far as I know, anything worth hearing is not usually uttered at seven o’clock in the morning; and if it is, it will generally be repeated at a more reasonable hour for a larger and more wakeful audience. Much more likely, if it is worth hearing at all, it will be set down in print where it can be decently enjoyed by dawdling souls, like myself, who lumpishly resist the golden glow of dawn.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®