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

Home Town by William Stafford | Friday, December 02, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Peace on my little town, a speck in the safe,             comforting, impersonal immensity of Kansas. Benevolence like a gentle haze on its courthouse             (the model of Greek pillars to me)             on its quiet little bombshell of a library,             on its continuous, hidden, efficient sewer system. Sharp, amazed, steadfast regard on its more upright citizenry,             my... Read more »

The Couple by Louis Jenkins | Thursday, December 01, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

They no longer sleep quite as well as they did when they were younger. He lies awake thinking of things that happened years ago, turning uncomfortably from time to time, pulling on the blankets. She worries about money. First one and then the other is awake during the night, in shifts as if keeping watch,... Read more »

November, 1967 by Joyce Sutphen | Wednesday, November 30, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Dr. Zhivago was playing at the Paramount Theater in St. Cloud. That afternoon, we went into Russia, and when we came out, the snow was falling—the same snow that fell in Moscow. The sky had turned black velvet. We’d been through the Revolution and the frozen winters. In the Chevy, we waited for the heater... Read more »

She Tells Her Child of the Assassination by Marjorie Saiser | Tuesday, November 29, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

In November of 1963, you were all the center of my days and when I heard on TV Kennedy had been shot, I wrapped you in your blue blanket and walked for miles (I was strong then), carrying you on sidewalks in the middle of a country stunned by rapid-fire bulletins. It was pink Chanel... Read more »

Evening by Raymond Carver | Monday, November 28, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

I fished alone that languid autumn evening. Fished as darkness kept coming on. Experiencing exceptional loss and then exceptional joy when I brought a silver salmon to the boat, and dipped a net under the fish. Secret heart! When I looked into the moving water and up at the dark outline of the mountains behind... Read more »

Prague by Stephen Dobyns | Sunday, November 27, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

The day I learned my wife was dying I told myself if anyone said, Well, she had a good life, I’d punch him in the nose. How much life represents a good life? Maybe a hundred years, which would give us nearly forty more to visit Oslo and take the train to Vladivostok, learn German... Read more »

Country Roads by Joyce Sutphen | Saturday, November 26, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

It was one of those days when the sun poured gold into the air, and flecks of light floated in shafts that fell through the branches of yellow leaf and green. We’d had dinner at a place on the edge of a lake, and now we were going back to town. There was a simple... Read more »

The Guardians by Jill Bialosky | Friday, November 25, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

All day we packed boxes. We read birth and death certificates. The yellowed telegrams that announced our births, the cards of congratulations and condolences, the deeds and debts, love letters, valentines with a heart ripped out, the obituaries. We opened the divorce decree, a terrible document of division and subtraction. We leafed through scrapbooks: corsages,... Read more »

Remembering Summer by W. S. Merwin | Thursday, November 24, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Being too warm the old lady said to me is better than being too cold I think now in between is the best because you never give it a thought but it goes by too fast I remember the winter how cold it got I could never get warm wherever I was but I don’t... Read more »

Limericks by Gary Johnson | Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

There was an old lady of Queens Who survived on wieners and beans. Wearing Army surplus, Riding the bus, And stealing from vending machines. A misanthrope living in Raleigh Believed human friendship was folly But he did get it on With a trumpeter swan And was fond of a miniature collie. An old fellow lived... Read more »

Oft in the Stilly Night by Thomas Moore | Tuesday, November 22, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Oft in the stilly night      Ere Slumber’s chain has bound me, Fond Memory brings the light      Of other days around me;           The smiles, the tears,           Of boyhood’s years,      The words of love then spoken;           The eyes that shone,           Now dimmed and gone,      The cheerful hearts now broken! Thus, in the stilly night,      Ere Slumber’s chain... Read more »

Eight. Doing the Dishes by Jeanne Lohmann | Monday, November 21, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

We lived in so many houses, Gloria: Indiana Avenue, Summit and Fourth, the double on Hudson Street. And that upstairs apartment on North High we rented from Armbruster’s. Mother thought it Elizabethan, romantic, with its leaded glass windows and wood-beamed ceilings. Our entrance was at the side, at the top of stairs that creaked late... Read more »

Unfortunate Location by Louis Jenkins | Sunday, November 20, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

In the front yard there are three big white pines, older than any- thing in the neighborhood except the stones. Magnificent trees that toss their heads in the wind like the spirited black horses of a troika. It’s hard to know what to do, tall dark trees on the south side of the house, an... Read more »

Excerpt from “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman | Saturday, November 19, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

The little one sleeps in its cradle, I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away        flies with my hand. The youngster and the redfaced girl turn aside up the bushy        hill I peeringly view them from the top. The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom. It is... Read more »

One Time by William Stafford | Friday, November 18, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

When evening had flowed between houses and paused on the school ground, I met Hilary’s blind little sister following the gray smooth railing still warm from the sun with her hand; and she stood by the edge holding her face upward waiting while the last light found her cheek and her hair, and then on... Read more »

Excerpt from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare | Thursday, November 17, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel, And shining... Read more »

Recognitions by Stephen Dobyns | Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

The awful imbalance that occurs with age when you suddenly see that more friends have died, than remain alive. And at times their memory seems so real that the latest realization of a death can become a second, smaller death. All those talks cut off in midsentence. All those plans tossed in the trash. What... Read more »

Trick of the Light by Michelle Y. Burke | Tuesday, November 15, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

In France, the pickpockets ask tourists to sign petitions against social injustice, then run their hands over their intimate belongings, gentle and needy as lovers. It’s hard to judge them harshly, such artistry. Even the rush-hour crowd hurrying toward the downtown C parts for the woman in checkered spandex twirling a hula-hoop about her waist... Read more »

Remnants still visible by Marge Piercy | Monday, November 14, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

Robins migrate, all schoolchildren learn but here on the Cape, every winter a flock forms and stays, long frigid months after their compatriots have flown south. They live deep in the woods on hips and berries wizened by cold. Sometimes they appear here among the feeder birds, one or two almost outcasts. Off Alaska when... Read more »

Talking During the Commercials by Hal Sirowitz | Sunday, November 13, 2016 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor  

It seems like the commercials are getting longer, Father said, & the shows are getting shorter. This is the fourth one in a row. Don’t they realize there’s a limit to our patience, & we’re ready to pull the plug on the TV if they continue to take advantage of us? I’d pull it out... Read more »

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