The Writer's Almanac with Garrison KeillorThe Writ

The Writer's Almanac with Garrison KeillorThe Writ

United States

A poem each day, plus literary and historical notes from this day in history

Episodes

Sweater by Jane Hirshfield | Friday, February 24, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

What is asked of one is not what is asked of another. A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer, a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace, making its pale Saturn rings of now and before. Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table, day after... Read more »

Lucky by Kirsten Dierking | Thursday, February 23, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

All this time, the life you were supposed to live has been rising around you like the walls of a house designed with warm harmonious lines. As if you had actually planned it that way. As if you had stacked up bricks at random, and built by mistake a lucky star.

Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

We were very tired, we were very merry— We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry. It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable— But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table, We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon; And the whistles kept blowing, and the... Read more »

VIII – from “Twelve Songs” by W. H. Auden | Tuesday, February 21, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end, The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend; Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire; Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire. Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind... Read more »

When I Am Old by Moyra Donaldson | Monday, February 20, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I’ll have dewlaps and a hump and say what all the time in a cross voice: on every one of my bony crony fingers a ring. My lips painted with a slash of bright fuchsia, I’ll drink margaritas by the tumbler full and if my dealer dies before I do, I’ll just have to look... Read more »

A Wake by Malena Morling | Sunday, February 19, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I called Michael and he told me he just got home from a wake. “Oh, I am sorry,” I said. “No, no,” he said, “it was the best wake I have ever been to. The funeral home was as warm and as cozy as anyone’s living room. We had the greatest time. My friend looked... Read more »

The Idea of Living by Joyce Sutphen | Saturday, February 18, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

It has its attractions, chiefly visual: all those shapes and lines, hunks of color and light (the way the gold light falls across the lawn in early summer, the iridescent blue floating on the lake at sunset), and being alive seems to be a necessity if you want to sit in the sun or rub... Read more »

My Father Was a Young Man Then by Maria Mazziotti Gillan | Friday, February 17, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Only 16, when he came from Italy alone, moved into the Riverside neighborhood full of Italians from Cilento—all of whom spoke the same dialect, so it was as though they had transported those mountain villages to Paterson. At first, America was terrifying, English, a language they could not master, but my father was a young... Read more »

The Truth about Fences by Sonja Johanson | Thursday, February 16, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

They only hold in those who are willing to be held. Horses prove it all the time, unlatching gates in their idle moments. I once saw a cornered ewe leap a six foot buck fence because she didn’t feel like going where the border collie wanted her to go. She wasn’t even afraid. When they... Read more »

First Snow by Louise Glück | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Like a child, the earth’s going to sleep, or so the story goes. But I’m not tired, it says. And the mother says, You may not be tired but I’m tired— You can see it in her face, everyone can. So the snow has to fall, sleep has to come. Because the mother’s sick to... Read more »

Weather Systems by Barbara Crooker | Tuesday, February 14, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Sugar maples, little fires in the trees, every blazing gradation of orange to red, and this makes me think of you, the way you press the long length of your body against me, the heat seeping through flannel, my own private furnace. If only hands and feet had a color, it would be blue. From... Read more »

Antilamentation by Dorianne Laux | Monday, February 13, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read to the end just to find out who killed the cook. Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark, in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication. Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot, the one you beat to the punchline,... Read more »

Following the Road by Larry Smith | Sunday, February 12, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I have left my wife at the airport, flying out to help our daughter whose baby will not eat. And I am driving on to Kent to hear some poets read tonight. I don’t know what to do with myself when she leaves me like this. An old friend has decided to end our friendship.... Read more »

Marriage of Many Years by Dana Gioia | Saturday, February 11, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Most of what happens happens beyond words. The lexicon of lip and fingertip defies translation into common speech. I recognize the musk of your dark hair. It always thrills me, though I can’t describe it. My finger on your thigh does not touch skin— it touches your skin warming to my touch. You are a... Read more »

Reading to the Blind Man by David Shumate | Friday, February 10, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

We start with the classics. Homer. Shakespeare. Chaucer. But he becomes bored and wants to read romances. Stories of people adrift on the tides of their passion. He is afraid he is missing more than sight. That there are continents of emotions he has never explored. As I read, his lips move as if he... Read more »

If the Moon Happened Once by Kay Ryan | Thursday, February 09, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

If the moon happened once, it wouldn’t matter much, would it? One evening’s ticket punched with a round or a crescent. You could like it or not like it, as you chose. It couldn’t alter every time it rose; it couldn’t do those things with scarves it does.

Genealogy by Gail Mazur | Wednesday, February 08, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Of my ancestors I know little, and to try tracing them now would be absurd, their surnames reinvented, mangled at every gate. Was there, among their number, a hero? Were there heliographs, a silhouette, daguerreotypes, lost in the wolverine dark as they fled where they were unwanted for where they were unwanted? To me, it... Read more »

Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord... by Emily Dickinson | Tuesday, February 07, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord, Then, I am ready to go! Just a look at the Horses — Rapid! That will do! Put me in on the firmest side — So I shall never fall — For we must ride to the Judgment — And it’s partly, down Hill — But never... Read more »

Holy Ghost by June Robertson Beisch | Monday, February 06, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

The congregation sang off key. The priest was rambling. The paint was peeling in the Sacristy. A wayward pigeon, trapped in the church, flew wildly around for a while and then flew toward a stained glass window, but it didn’t look like reality. The ushers yawned, the dollar bills drifted lazily out of the collection... Read more »

The Best Thing I Did by Ron Padgett | Sunday, February 05, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

The best thing I did for my mother was to outlive her for which I deserve no credit though it makes me glad that she didn’t have to see me die Like most people (I suppose) I feel I should have done more for her Like what? I wasn’t such a bad son I would... Read more »

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