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

Market Day by Linda Pastan | Monday, May 22, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

We have traveled all this way to see the real France: these trays of apricots and grapes spilled out like semi-precious stones for us to choose; a milky way of cheeses whose names like planets I forget; heraldic sole displayed on ice, as if the fish themselves had just escaped, leaving their scaled armor behind.... Read more »

Observations of an OB/GYN Nurse by Lois Parker Edstrom | Sunday, May 21, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

       In memory of Dr. Tom Critchfield The babies, CEOs of his life, set the schedule, write the script. They arrive in predawn hours and the middle of the afternoon unaware of an overflowing waiting room or his need for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. The police recognize his car, escort him to the hospital... Read more »

Windnoon by W. S. Merwin | Saturday, May 20, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

On the green hill with the river beyond it long ago and my father there and my grandmother standing in her faded clothes wrinkled high-laced black shoes in the spring grass among the few gravestones inside their low fence by the small white wooden church the clear panes of its windows letting the scene through... Read more »

Ode to the Joyful Ones by Thomas Lux | Friday, May 19, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

          Shield your joyful ones.                     —from an Anglican prayer That they walk, even stumble, among us is reason to praise them, or protect them—even the sound of a lead slug dropped on a lead plate, even that, for them, is music. Because they bring laughter’s brief amnesia. Because they stand, talking, taking pleasure in others, with... Read more »

I cannot dance upon my Toes... by Emily Dickinson | Thursday, May 18, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I cannot dance upon my Toes— No Man instructed me— But oftentimes, among my mind, A Glee possesseth me, That had I Ballet knowledge— Would put itself abroad In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe— Or lay a Prima, mad, And though I had no Gown of Gauze— No Ringlet, to my Hair, Nor hopped to... Read more »

I Knew a Woman by Theodore Roethke | Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

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: The shapes a bright container can contain! Of her choice virtues only gods should speak, Or English poets who grew up on Greek (I’d have them sing... Read more »

Excerpt from “The Prelude” by William Wordsworth | Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

When from our better selves we have too long Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop, Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, How gracious, how benign is Solitude! —Hermit Deep in the bosom of the Wilderness; Votary (in vast Cathedral, where no foot Is treading and no other face is seen) Kneeling... Read more »

Nurse by Dorianne Laux | Sunday, May 14, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

My mother went to work each day in a starched white dress, shoes damped to her feet like pale mushrooms, two blue hearts pressed into the sponge rubber soles. When she came back home, her nylons streaked with runs, a spatter of blood across her bodice, she sat at one end of the dinner table... Read more »

Bad News Good News by Marjorie Saiser | Saturday, May 13, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I was at a camp in the country, you were home in the city, and bad news had come to you. You texted me as I sat with others around a campfire. It had been a test you and I hadn’t taken seriously, hadn’t worried about. You texted the bad news word cancer. I read... Read more »

Moonrise, Aurora, Nebraska by Twyla Hansen | Friday, May 12, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

No Ansel Adams but the snapshots we captured through the open car window on our eight megapixel cell phones on the side of the road off an exit ramp as truck taillights streaked eastbound opposite the earth’s rotation in startling calm that evening a mere dot-glow above dun fields Look, life is like this, filled... Read more »

To the Woman at the Retirement Center by Phebe Hanson | Thursday, May 11, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

You tell me when you were eight, newly arrived from Czechoslovakia, your teacher made you memorize a poem that began “I remember, I remember the house where I was born.” Stranger to our language you proudly learned all the verses, practiced them over and over in front of your mirror, but at the program when... Read more »

In an Iridescent Time by Ruth Stone | Wednesday, May 10, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

My mother, when young, scrubbed laundry in a tub, She and her sisters on an old brick walk Under the apple trees, sweet rub-a-dub. The bees came round their heads, the wrens made talk. Four young ladies each with a rainbow board Honed their knuckles, wrung their wrists to red, Tossed back their braids and... Read more »

In Spring by Rosie King | Tuesday, May 09, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I’m out with the wheelbarrow mixing mulch. A mockingbird trills in the pine. Then, from higher, a buzz, and through patches of blue as the fog burns off, a small plane pulls a banner, red letters I can’t read— but I do see, over the fence, a man in a sky-blue shirt walking his dog... Read more »

Saints by Louis Jenkins | Monday, May 08, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

As soon as the snow melts the grass begins to grow. Even though the daytime high is barely above freezing, even though May is very like November, marsh marigolds bloom in the swamp and the popple trees produce a faint green that hangs under the low clouds like a haze over the valley. This is... Read more »

Time with You by Gary Soto | Sunday, May 07, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

We’re thirteen, almost fourteen, And so much in love We want the years to pass— Clouds roll at super speed, rains fall, Flowers unfold and die at the snap Of our fingers. I want to stuff sand Through a fat hourglass, And rip the pages from the calendar. Let me blow candles from my cake.... Read more »

Red Never Lasts by Anya Krugovoy Silver | Saturday, May 06, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

There’s no doubt it’s the most glamorous, the one you reach for first—its luscious gloss. Russian Roulette, First Dance, ApĂ©ritif, Cherry Pop. For three days, your nails are a Ferris wheel, a field of roses, a flashing neon Open sign. Whatever you’re wearing feels like a tight dress and your hair tousles like Marilyn’s on... Read more »

Now by Robert Browning | Friday, May 05, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Out of your whole life give but a moment! All of your life that has gone before, All to come after it,—so you ignore, So you make perfect the present, —condense, In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment, Thought and feeling and soul and sense— Merged in a moment which gives me at last... Read more »

Kindred Spirit by Carrie Shipers | Thursday, May 04, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

My father doesn’t say ghost, though I know he’s haunted. Instead he says, When they let Uncle Marion out of that hospital, he didn’t even move the same. He said they tried to take his stories. He loves his fifteen uncles fiercely. Nearly all of them drank, did time in prison or mental hospitals, died... Read more »

Polar Bear in the Central Park Zoo by Julie Sheehan | Wednesday, May 03, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Watched, captivating, he swims to the rocky shelf and berths a beat before pushing off with plate-sized foot, belly up, yellow head plowing a watery furrow. He soaks. A forepaw backstrokes the water once, idly, but with force enough to speed his streamlined bulk across the dole of open sea he’s fathomed utterly. He dives... Read more »

0:00/0:00
Video player is in betaClose