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
Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 11 in Joliet, IL Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
Dec 10 in Ottumwa Iowa Keillor & Company: A PRAIRIE HOME HOLIDAY. Let’s come together for a Christmas sing-along, some Poetry, the News from Lake Wobegon and some holiday cheer with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard.
The Hay Rake
by Kate Barnes
One evening I stopped by the field to watch the hay rake
drawn toward me by two black, tall, ponderous horses
who stepped like conquerors over the fallen oat stalks,
light-shot dust at their heels, long shadows before them.
At the ditch the driver turned back in a wide arc,
the off-horse scrambling, the near-horse pivoting neatly.
The big side-delivery rake came about with a shriek—
its tines were crashing, the iron-bound tongue groaned aloud—
then, Hup, Diamond! Hup, Duke! and they set off west,
trace-deep in dust, going straight into the low sun.
The clangor grew faint, distance and light consumed them;
a fiery chariot rolled away in a cloud of gold
and faded slowly, brightness dying into brightness.
The groaning iron, the prophesying wheels,
the mighty horses with their necks like storms—
all disappeared; nothing was left but a track
of dust that climbed like smoke up the evening wind.
Kate Barnes, “The Hay Rake” from Where the Deer Were. Copyright © 2000 by Kate Barnes. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of David R Godine, Publisher, Inc., www.godine.com. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1892 that an early version of the Pledge of Allegiance appeared in The Youth’s Companion magazine. It read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It’s the birthday of the writer Ann Beattie (books by this author), born in Washington, D.C., in 1947. She’s the author of novels and short stories about Americans who came of age in the 1960s. Her first writings appeared in the early 1970s when The New Yorker began accepting her short stories.
It’s the birthday of novelist Grace Metalious (books by this author), born in Manchester, New Hampshire (1924). She wrote the scandalous novel Peyton Place (1956), about a small New England town that is filled with sex, rape, murder, and suicide. Metalious was a stay-at-home mother of three children, and she wrote the novel to help her husband pay the bills.
It was on this day in 1952 that Ernest Hemingway published The Old Man and the Sea (books by this author). For years, he had been living in Cuba and working on an epic novel about the sea but he couldn’t quite get it right. So he decided to publish a small piece of it, just 27,000 words long, which he called The Old Man and the Sea. He released it in the September 1st issue of Life magazine, which cost 20 cents. That month it was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons for $3.
The Old Man and the Sea was a big comeback for Hemingway. His last major work had been For Whom the Bell Tolls, published 12 years earlier in 1940. In 1950 he published Across the River and Into the Trees, a novel about a 50-year-old colonel dying of heart disease who is on his final duck hunt and thinking about his romance with a beautiful 18-year-old Italian countess. It sold fewer than 100,000 copies, all the critics panned it, and there was a general feeling that maybe Hemingway’s best days as a writer were passed.
The Old Man and the Sea changed all that. The Life version sold more than 5 million copies in two days, and it was a best-seller in book form, as well. Hemingway said, “I’m very excited about The Old Man and the Sea, and that it is coming out in Life so that many people will read it who could not afford to buy it. That makes me much happier than to have a Nobel Prize.” The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize and, two years later, Hemingway won the Nobel. He was unable to attend the ceremony because he had been injured in two plane crashes on a hunting trip in Africa but he sent a speech to be read aloud. In it he wrote:
“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed. How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.”
The Old Man and the Sea was the last book that Hemingway published during his lifetime; in 1961, with his physical and mental health deteriorating, he committed suicide.
“The shark swung over and the old man saw his eye was not alive and then he swung over once again, wrapping himself in two loops of the rope. The old man knew that he was dead but the shark would not accept it. Then, on his back, with his tail lashing and his jaws clicking, the shark plowed over the water as a speed-boat does. The water was white where his tail beat it and three-quarters of his body was clear above the water when the rope came taut, shivered, and then snapped. The shark lay quietly for a little while on the surface and the old man watched him. Then he went down very slowly. ‘He took about forty pounds,’ the old man said aloud. He took my harpoon too and all the rope, he thought, and now my fish bleeds again and there will be others. […] It was too good to last, he thought. I wish it had been a dream now and that I had never hooked the fish and was alone in bed on the newspapers. ‘But man is not made for defeat,’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed but not defeated.'”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®