Having revived the radio variety program with A Prairie Home Companion
Garrison Keillor turned to broadcasting poetry in the daily short feature The Writer's Almanac
. In any given week, probably more people hear him read poems than attend poetry readings and slams. That's good because his taste is excellent. But then, his criteria are golden. For him, a poem is good if it's memorable, recitable, and accessible. The almost-unheard-of-for-poetry sales of Good Poems
(2002) suggest that many endorse his taste and criteria, and the sequel to that success gives them no reason to change their minds. As before, the range of poets represented is broad contemporarily (the majority are alive or very recently deceased) and historically (sixteenth to twenty-first century), though not internationally, for, with one exception (Psalm 51), English is these poems' language of origin. As before, too, these are predominantly poems of domesticity and ordinary things, and when a poem touches the genuinely extraordinary, it is related to everyday life; for instance, Stephen Dobyns' "Thelonious Monk" relates a particular instance of a kind of experience virtually everyone has--the discovery of greatness. Even those tired of Lake Wobegon, or who think Keillor's a bigoted Democrat (especially after Homemade Democrat
, 2004), should grant that he knows good poetry. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Those ready to whet their appetites would do well to start with Good Poems for Hard Times. (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)