Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
by Galway Kinnell
I open my eyes to see how the night
is progressing. The clock glows green,
the light of the last-quarter moon
shines up off the snow into our bedroom.
Her portion of our oceanic duvet
lies completely flat. The words
of the shepherd in Tristan, “Waste
and empty, the sea,” come back to me.
Where can she be? Then in the furrow
where the duvet overlaps her pillow,
a small hank of brown hair
shows itself, her marker that she’s here,
asleep, somewhere down in the dark
underneath. Now she rotates
herself a quarter turn, from strewn
all unfolded on her back to bunched
in a Z on her side, with her back to me.
I squirm nearer, careful not to break
into the immensity of her sleep,
and lie there absorbing the astounding
quantity of heat a slender body
ovens up around itself.
Her slow, purring, sometimes snorish,
perfectly intelligible sleeping sounds
abruptly stop. A leg darts back
and hooks my ankle with its foot
and draws me closer. Immediately
her sleeping sounds resume, telling me:
“Come, press against me, yes, like that,
put your right elbow on my hipbone, perfect,
and your right hand at my breasts, yes, that’s it,
now your left arm, which has become extra,
stow it somewhere out of the way, good.
Entangled with each other so, unsleeping one,
together we will outsleep the night.”
“Insomniac” by Galway Kinnell, from Strong is Your Hold. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Today is the birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald (books by this author), born Francis Scott Fitzgerald in St. Paul, Minnesota (1896), who said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
The son of a would-be furniture manufacturer who never quite made it big in business, Fitzgerald grew up feeling like a “poor boy in a rich town,” in spite of his middle-class upbringing. This impression was only strengthened when he attended Princeton, paid for by an aunt, where he was enthralled by the leisure class, tried out and was cut from the football team, and fell in love with a beautiful young socialite who would marry a wealthy business associate of her father’s. By the time Fitzgerald dropped out of college and entered the Army — wearing a Brooks Brothers-tailored uniform — it was little wonder he called the autobiographical novel he was writing The Romantic Egotist.
Fitzgerald’s time at an officer training camp in Alabama didn’t turn out as he’d hoped, either; the war ended before he ever made it to Europe, his book was rejected, and when he failed to make it big in New York City, his new debutante girlfriend, Zelda Sayre, called off their engagement.
Fitzgerald was probably much like most young men of his generation who dreamed of being a football star, the war hero, the wealthy big shot, the guy who gets the girl, but he actually had talent, drive, and an unshakeable faith that he could translate all that familiar yearning into something new. His revised book, This Side of Paradise, was a triumphant success. Requests for his writing came pouring in, Zelda married him, and the two of them — a Midwesterner and a Southerner — became the quintessential New York couple, the epitome of the Jazz Age, a term Fitzgerald himself coined. And although they eventually died separated, she in a mental hospital, he in debt and obscurity, Fitzgerald’s two greatest regrets remained, for the rest of his life, having failed to serve overseas and play Princeton football.
And his daughter, “Scottie” Fitzgerald, said about her parents, “People who live entirely by the fertility of their imaginations are fascinating, brilliant and often charming, but they should be sat next to at dinner parties, not lived with.”
Today is the birthday of poet Eavan Boland (books by this author), born in Dublin (1944). When she was just six, her father was appointed the Irish Ambassador to the UK and moved the family to London, where she first witnessed anti-Irish hostility. She returned to Dublin as a young teen, with a deeper appreciation of her heritage and a desire to write. But when she looked more closely at the Irish literary tradition, she found almost no women poets in the ranks. There was “a magnetic distance between the word ‘woman’ and the word ‘poet,'” she said. While she admired Keats and Joyce, she felt strongly that her own life should make it into her poetry, so she wrote about the trials and rewards of motherhood, or life in the suburbs. She published her first collection, 23 Poems, while still a freshman in college in 1962, and followed up with another 10 books of verse, including Night Feed (1982) and In a Time of Violence (1994), for which she received the Lannan Literary Award.
Boland was the co-founder of Arlen House Press and the director of the creative writing program at Stanford University. She died this past April in Dublin.
Speaking on the importance of the oral tradition in Irish poetry, Boland said: “Poetry is one of the most fugitive arts: it can be assigned to memory, taken and hidden in the mind, smuggled into smoky cabin back rooms, recited there and then conveyed only by speech to another person. It is therefore the most likely to survive colonization.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®