Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writer's Almanac

One of my daily pleasures is opening up my email and reading a poem that Garrison Keillor has sent me. I subscribe to an email newsletter called Writer's Almanac, which is also a the name of a 5 minute radio program produced by Keillor and National Public Radio (NPR). If you listen to KQED-FM at 9:00 a.m. weekdays you might have heard Keillor reading, in his soothing, distinctive voice, a poem for Writer's Almanac.

Keillor does not select pretentious, difficult, academic poems for Writer's Almanac . He prefers those that have "Stickiness, memorability.... You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in the brainpan." These poems tell story or create a picture and are very accessible. Even people who say they hate poetry will find many to like (or even love) on Writers Almanac. Here's one of my favorties:

by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

If you go to The Writer's Almanac website, you can both read and listen to the poems. You can also subscribe to the email newsletter (which contains some literary history as well as a poem) by clicking on the "Newsletter" button.

If you get hooked on the poems, you may also want to check out the two book collections of Writer's Almanac poems that Keillor has put together. The library carries both: Good Poems and Good Poems for Hard Times.

No comments: