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


Nothing Is Lost by Noel Coward | Monday, January 23, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told Lie all our memories, lie all the notes Of all the music we have ever heard And all the phrases those we loved have spoken, Sorrows and losses time has since consoled, Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes Each sentimental souvenir and token Everything seen, experienced, each word Addressed to... Read more »

Having Confessed by Patrick Kavanagh | Sunday, January 22, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Having confessed he feels That he should go down on his knees and pray For forgiveness for his pride, for having Dared to view his soul from the outside. Lie at the heart of the emotion, time Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch... Read more »

Theater by William Greenway | Saturday, January 21, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Like the neighborhood kind you went to as a kid, full of yellow light and red velvet curtains and everybody there, friends, bullies throwing popcorn, somebody with red hair. The roof is leak-stained like the bloody footprints of the beast from 20,000 fathoms, there’s a yo-yo demonstration by a greasy man in a sequined suit,... Read more »

SNOW: I by C.K. Williams | Friday, January 20, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

All night, snow, then, near dawn, freezing rain, so that by morn-             ing the whole city glistens in a glaze of high-pitched, meticulously polished brilliance, every,             thing rounded off, the cars submerged nearly to their windows in the unbroken drifts             lining the narrow alleys, the buildings rising from the trunklike integuments the wind has against... Read more »

To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe | Thursday, January 19, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicean barks of yore, That gently, o’er a perfum’d sea, The weary, way-worn wanderer bore To his own native shore. On desperate seas wont to roam, Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, Thy Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was Greece, And the... Read more »

To Sara, 1999 by Bill Jones | Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Nearly sixteen years ago, you made your way into this world, calm and quiet, with none of the fuss or emergency of Sean and Nate. Mom didn’t break a sweat. When you started crawling, you strutted, hands gaiting out like a Tennessee Walker’s, your head held high, eyes gleaming. You swam at three, floating to... Read more »

English Class by Robin Chapman | Tuesday, January 17, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Twelfth grade reading lists stretched out as endless as the sentences we diagrammed, as orderly as the outlines for our senior essays— “Humanism in England in the Fourteenth Century” I think I wrote about, cobbling facts together about Erasmus and the Church, forgetting those were plague years, and Henry David Thoreau’s pithy quotes, marching to... Read more »

After Second Shift by Lowell Jaeger | Monday, January 16, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

She’s stopped to shop for groceries. Her snow boots sloshing up and down the aisles, the store deserted: couple stock boys droning through cases of canned goods, one sleepy checker at the till. In the parking lot, an elderly man stands mumbling outside his sedan, all four doors wide to gusting sleet and ice. She... Read more »

Midnight to Eight by David Salner | Sunday, January 15, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Midnight to eight I spend with machines, with their incessant hum, the hubbub and scrape, the snip-snip, the whine of well-oiled tongues that winds through the night. I listen to lathes go round, to mills that peck at each part-piece like hungry birds, to grinders whose bit-sized teeth make ultra-fine dust, golden iotas drawn toward... Read more »

At the Diamond School of Dance by Jon Loomis | Friday, January 13, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

It’s me and the mothers, out in the foyer. Linoleum floors, knotty-pine, late ’50s rumpus room— long row of trophies, blue ribbons on a shelf. I’m here with my daughter, who’s four. Who, because no one gives princess lessons, has opted for dancing. She likes the tutus, the tap shoes, the tights. The teachers are... Read more »

Geography of the Forehead by Ron Koertge | Thursday, January 12, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Everyone thinks the brain is so complicated, but let’s look at the facts. The frontal lobe, for example, is located in the front! And the temporal lobe is where the clock is. What could be simpler? The hippocampal fissure is where big, dumb thoughts camp, while at the Fissure of Rolando dark-skinned men with one... Read more »

My Father Watched Westerns by Faith Shearin | Wednesday, January 11, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

He couldn’t get enough of them: those dusty landscapes on the other side of the screen, men on horses seeking justice or revenge. All through my life if he was tired I would find him in a dark room full of gunfire. His movie titles included words like Lone and Lonesome though mostly families stuck... Read more »

Sturgeon Season by Floyd Skloot | Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

They have been there since dawn, their boats side-by-side midriver, lines cast downstream into the edge of deep water, sipping coffee as light seeps through naked branches of ash and cottonwood. Now from shadows of limbs and swirling current a sea lion slithers among their orange anchor buoys and dives. The water, already roiled brown... Read more »

Taking Down the Tree by Jane Kenyon | Sunday, January 08, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

“Give me some light!” cries Hamlet’s uncle midway through the murder of Gonzago. “Light! Light!” cry scattering courtesans. Here, as in Denmark, it’s dark at four, and even the moon shines with only half a heart. The ornaments go down into the box: the silver spaniel, My Darling on its collar, from Mother’s childhood in... Read more »

Complaint by James Wright | Friday, January 06, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

She’s gone. She was my love, my moon or more. She chased the chickens out and swept the floor, Emptied the bones and nut-shells after feasts, And smacked the kids for leaping up like beasts. Now morbid boys have grown past awkwardness; The girls let stitches out, dress after dress, To free some swinging body’s... Read more »

Looking by W.D. Snodgrass | Thursday, January 05, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

What was I looking for today? All that poking under the rugs, Peering under the lamps and chairs, Or going from room to room that way, Forever up and down the stairs Like someone stupid with sleep or drugs. Everywhere I was, was wrong. I started turning the drawers out, then I was staring in... Read more »

The Woodcutter Changes His Mind by David Budbill | Wednesday, January 04, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

When I was young, I cut the bigger, older trees for firewood, the ones with heart rot, dead and broken branches, the crippled and deformed ones, because, I reasoned, they were going to fall soon anyway, and therefore, I should give the younger trees more light and room to grow. Now I’m older and I... Read more »

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