The Writer's Almanac
March 28, 2003 12:13 AM   Subscribe

It's Always Some Poor Writer's Birthday: So thank you, I guess, good old Uncle Garrison, for remembering them on good old Minnesota Public Radio. A rather good bunch was born today, too: Nelson Algren [Party in Chicago on Saturday!], Gorky, Vargas Llosa, Russell Banks and Frederic "A Fan's Notes" Exley. [Literary types will inevitably want to play the good old "What do this motley crew have in common?" game. Cheating and false analogies actively encouraged, of course.] In fact, it's been a good week altogether. Be sure to go back to 2001 and 2002 for extra snippets. The notes, written by Keillor, are unassuming, interesting and admirably synthetic. There's also an excellent daily reading of a poem [Real Audio req.] and a running celebration of the calendar's most significant dates. I defy those who are put off by Keillor's sock-knitting, eggnog-sipping, home-on-the-range style not to grudgingly feel, amid the grrrr, an unwelcome twinge of gratitude.
posted by MiguelCardoso (14 comments total)
I liked his reading of John Ciardi's Song tonight:

The bells of Sunday rang us down
And flowers were blowing across the town
Through faucets of the sun turned on.

For Mary's giggle and Martha's glance
The bankrolls flashed from pants to pants,
The Captain did a Highland dance.

Oh, there were troops in every door,
And liquor spilled on every floor,
And when the sun became a bore

We turned it off and hung a star,
For we were beautiful and far
And all the papers spoke of war.

And all night long from window sills
The Angels beckoned and the bills
Of visors turned and made their kills.

We burned like kisses on the night,
And talented and drunk and bright
We shed ourselves in colored light.

Because the train was at the gate,
And clocks were closing down the date,
And all seas were running late.
posted by y2karl at 12:23 AM on March 28, 2003

also liked this:

It's the birthday of Quentin Tarantino, born in Knoxville, Tennessee (1963). His mother was sixteen when he was born, and she took him to the movies regularly from the time he was a toddler. He saw a lot of films that were inappropriate for small children, but he didn't mind. When he got older, he got a job in a video store, and he spent most of his time sitting around watching movies with his co-workers and talking about what was wrong with them. He wrote a couple of screenplays, and then, in the time-honored Hollywood tradition, he met an actor who knew another actor who knew Harvey Keitel, and Keitel agreed to look at one of his scripts. He was impressed enough to volunteer to help Tarantino cast the film, and to act in it himself. Reservoir Dogs was a hit in both in the U.S. and in Europe, and his next film, Pulp Fiction, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994.
posted by y2karl at 12:25 AM on March 28, 2003

Here's a superb poetry companion-piece.[Old MeFi post.]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:27 AM on March 28, 2003

Writer's Almanac used to be a ritual for me, something I listened to daily as I drove down to University, late for class, listening to Garrison's wonderful reading and Rich Dworsky play "Give Me a Day".... it's funny how much I miss that.
posted by weston at 1:06 AM on March 28, 2003

And, since I'm at it, here's the charming, dependable but somewhat incomplete Born Today [and Died Today] website. Unreconstructed narcissists will enjoy finding out who else had the temerity and cheek of getting themselves born on their birthday. [I have to share with Johnny Hodges, Elias Canetti, Eric Hoffer, Thomas Eakins and Thurston Moore, btw.] ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:10 AM on March 28, 2003

Virginia Woolf lived through six major breakdowns before drowning herself, fearing another breakdown, in the River Ouse on March 28, 1941.
posted by emf at 2:48 AM on March 28, 2003

Thanks Miguel! I feel a welcome twinge of gratitude for your contribution and for Keillor doing his little part to bring civilization to an untamed people.
posted by nofundy at 4:58 AM on March 28, 2003

Here's a superb poetry companion-piece.[Old MeFi post.]

Gee, when I saw that I thought maybe you were linking to this wonderful post of y2karl's. But no, I should have guessed it was one of yours. What was that about "Unreconstructed narcissists"? Ah well, even though I'm put off by your fuck-witting, port-sipping, home-on-the-Tagus style, I grudgingly feel, amid the grrrr, an unwelcome twinge of gratitude.
posted by languagehat at 5:30 AM on March 28, 2003

That is indeed the best poetry post on MeFi I know of, languagehat, not least due to your own contributions, even if I say so myself. I humbly linked to the other one because it includes a day-by-day calendar and so complements the Writer's Almanac rather well.

May I take this opportunity to cosh you over the conk with a sackful of hardened marrons glac├ęs thank you for your unstinting support. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:46 AM on March 28, 2003

*clutches head in pain, stumbles into gutter*
De nada, camarada! *waves cheerily*
posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on March 28, 2003

I, for one, welcome our new sock-knitting, eggnog-sipping, home-on-the-range style overlord.
posted by nofundy at 8:44 AM on March 28, 2003

Keillor's not all sock-knitting. Lest we forget he was the advice columnist Mr. Blue on for a couple of years, advising young idealists to ditch the steady boy/girlfriend in small town America for a life of creative freedom in the big city.

Conversely, every time I hear his horrid singing voice on A Prairie Home Companion, I want to reach through the radio and throttle him.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:55 AM on March 28, 2003

Wow, I missed Tennessee William's birthday on Wednesday - guess I will have to have a few mint juleps tonight in his honor.

Oh, and Sean O'Casey's birthday was last Sunday. Guess that calls for a few pints of Guiness.

I can see my "literary" tributes could get out of hand. Cool post, Miguel - thanks...that's a great link.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:02 AM on March 28, 2003

Nemerov is a fav of mine, before he died, a friend phoned him outta the blue for a paper on this very poem. 'The War in the Air'....late 90' i believe...none the less.

"But stayed up there in the relative wind
Shades fading in the mind"

My uncle read this and said this is mainly true. for example, he was shot down over germany, when he bailed, he counted chutes, thats what one did. He remembered the quiet after the chute deployed. almost serene. But he knew the pilot was still in the plane. (they lost an engine, alot of rutter control and made for Sweden but to no avail) He watched the plane pitching, on fire, tracers of 20mm flak rising from the earth. The distant crash...The shades.
Of course the living think of other things when they hit the ground. regrouping, evasion, and when the farmer mobs come...the shame of surrender.
this is something that does not fade from the mind.

and i see Nelson Algren has a birthday.
i loved the movie

"aaahhh gez Franckie, why ya suore witme"
posted by clavdivs at 11:22 AM on March 28, 2003

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