A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Scranton, PA with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Spokane, WA for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
The simple pleasures of a long close marriage on a perfect October day, leaves dropping from the trees, eating an egg salad sandwich after her long morning walk, playing Scrabble. She talks about who and what she saw on her hike and I, the writer, am silent in thought, having played the word “irony,” which triggers the memory of a day long ago in Saginaw, Michigan.
I’d gone there to give a speech — don’t remember the occasion, only that afterward, a man in a shiny blue suit said to me, “It’s so hard to get good speakers to come to Saginaw.” And it wasn’t clear if this was a compliment or an insult.
I went to Saginaw because my hero Theodore Roethke was from there, who wrote I knew a woman lovely in her bones, when small birds sighed she would sigh back at them. Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one. And the poem “Root Cellar”: Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch, Bulbs broke out of boxes … Shoots dangled and drooped … And what a congress of stinks … Roots ripe as old bait, pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich, leaf-mold, manure … Nothing would give up life: even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
He was bipolar, suffered repeated breakdowns, died at 55, and one of his students was my teacher, the poet James Wright who, when I knew him, was going through a miserable time, hungover when the class met at 8 a.m., chain-smoking his way through the hour, and yet I remember him for Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, twilight bounds softly forth in the grass and the eyes of those two Indian ponies darken with kindness, they have come gladly out of the willows to welcome my friend and me. He was rescued by his second wife, Annie, and they enjoyed a close tender marriage. And Roethke’s lines about Beatrice O’Connell’s lovely bones and sighing at small birds strike me as husbandly, not the impressions of a first date.
“Are you happy?” my partner asks. I am and I’m sorry if silence is heard as sadness. So many memories are attached in a long skein, you pull on “irony” and out comes Saginaw and the troubled lives of brilliant writers and yet what I remember are the root cellar, the kindness of Indian ponies, the woman lovely in her bones.
This woman’s lovely bone structure has fascinated me for thirty years. We live in New York because she likes it there. I am a Minnesotan, descended from patient taciturn persons, herdsmen, and when dealing with large animals you don’t lecture them, you simply close off all other avenues and whack them where it won’t do damage. These skills don’t work in polite society.
Saturday we sat in Connecticut with a niece and nephew and their three-month-old boy and it all came back to us, the memory of the paraphernalia of parenthood, the car seat/carrier, stroller, burp rag, bottles, diaper bag. A handsome infant who smiles, even giggles, and you can see his gaze take in the whole scene, the trees, the birds sighing, the congress of stinks, the bounding twilight, the bone structure of his mother as she plants smackers on his cheeks. This boy has a future I can’t begin to imagine. In the midst of our visit, a phone call from our daughter who was going to come visit us this afternoon and now is begging off, she has other social plans. She is 26. “You don’t feel bad, do you?” she asks, and I do but how can you not be pleased that your progeny is happily busy?
So we get in the car and head home to the city in a river of taillights, my sweetheart at the wheel, muttering directions to other drivers, her husband dozing, recalling Saginaw, the great poet whose breakdowns became more frequent and required hospitalization, who left us poems that once you read them you’ll never forget them. His generation of intellectuals romanticized madness as a byproduct of genius and mine does not. The river of red lights flows under bridges and then along the Hudson and into Manhattan and we turn off the highway and into the city grid down a narrow street and stop at Amsterdam as parents push a baby stroller across. Life goes on. Despite the horrible breakdowns, the root cellar is the heart of it all. The damp tendrils, shoots, bulbs, even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.