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 comes to The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60
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
by George Bilgere
A man steps out to his back yard
and listens to the crickets
pining for other crickets.
A dog barks at the cosmos.
While others lounge in their Barcaloungers
the man is having a kind of Dover Beach moment
in which he hopes to have an immense thought or two.
So he looks up at the glittering god-haven.
And there’s the Milky Way, the Pleiades,
along with some quarks, dwarf stars, and supernovas.
And the thought the man has is of insignificance.
Under the bright furnaces of Orion
he contemplates his inconsequentiality.
It is a good feeling to have for several minutes,
reflects the man, who is holding a glass of pinot noir.
It puts things in perspective.
But it’s also good to go back inside
and resume one’s place
in front of the local and regional news,
if only to get, to some degree,
one’s significance back.
George Bilgere, “Stargazer” from Blood Pages. Copyright © 2018 University of Pittsburgh Press. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the second president of the United States, John Adams, born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1735. He represented Massachusetts at the Continental Congress. He served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, and even though Thomas Jefferson wrote most of it, John Adams edited it and he defended it to the rest of the Congress and helped get it passed. Adams was vice president for George Washington, but he didn’t like it much. In 1796 he was elected the second president of the United States. But his party, the Federalist Party, ended up divided and the next time around he lost to Jefferson.
John Adams said, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
It’s the birthday of Robert Caro (books by this author), born in New York City 86 years ago today (1935). He’s the author of The Power Broker (1974), for which he won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize. It’s a biography of Robert Moses, an urban planner and leading builder of New York City. President Obama said that he read the biography when he was 22 years old and that the book “mesmerized” him. Obama said, “I’m sure it helped to shape how I think about politics.”
Caro has also written four biographies on Lyndon Johnson. The Path to Power (1982), Means of Ascent (1990), Master of the Senate (2002), for which he won both the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, and The Passage of Power (2012). His most recent book is Working (2019).
It’s the birthday of Ezra Pound (books by this author), born in Hailey, Idaho (1885). Pound was born within a few years of James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, D.H. Lawrence, Marianne Moore, Hilda Doolittle, and T.S. Eliot, and he was instrumental in promoting the careers of each one of these writers — as well as many, many others. He was a champion of modern poetry and prose; Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair proclaimed that it was Ezra Pound “more than anyone who made poets write modern verse, editors publish it, and readers read it.” He was extraordinarily generous with his clout, often described as “the poet’s poet.” Pound’s mantra was “Make it new.”
He’d earned a grant to study Romantic languages and literature in Europe and then returned to the United States and got a teaching position a Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. But his rising academic star fell four months later when he allowed a stranded vaudeville actress to sleep over at his place. His landlady disapproved, his college superiors were notified, and in the ensuing scandal the 22-year-old Pound was dismissed from his professorial duties. (He later claimed all accusations were “ultimately refuted except that of being ‘the Latin Quarter type.”) Nevertheless, when the college fired him they also gave him the rest of his year’s salary and with it he headed back to Europe.
Pound spent time in Venice and moved to London. He believed that William Butler Yeats was the greatest poet writing in English and he was determined to find him and apprentice himself to the master. He befriended Yeats in England, worked as his secretary for a while, and even lived with him for a period in a cottage at Sussex. Once, when Yeats was lecturing on at an informal gathering about the intersection of poetry and music, Pound began eating two red tulips to get some attention.
Later, in 1914, Pound would marry Dorothy Shakespear, the daughter of Yeats’s former lover. It was that same year that he met T.S. Eliot, whom Pound is credited with “discovering” after pushing for the publication of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in Poetry magazine.
Pound lived in England for eight years and his Kensington flat became a hive of modern literary activity. He helped found the Imagist movement, along with H.D. — pen name of Hilda Doolittle — and declared its principles to be “direct treatment of the thing,” to use only words that “contribute to the presentation,” and, in regard to rhythm, “to compose in the sequence of a musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome.”
He wrote a famous poem called “In a Station of the Metro,” which goes:
“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet black bough.”
Though a very important poet, it must be noted that as U.S. citizen living in Italy through WWII, he was a supporter of Mussolini and his fascist government. From Italy, Pound also broadcast a series of controversial stories that placed blame on Jewish bankers and President Roosevelt for the war. Many of his comments were anti-Semitic and deemed treasonous. He ended up being imprisoned in 1943 and eventually was transferred to a mental hospital till 1958.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®