The Writer's Almanac

Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.

Recent Episodes

The Writer’s Almanac for December 31, 2014

Nothing on two legs weighs much, or can. An elephant, a donkey, even a cookstove— those legs, a person could stand on. Two legs pitch you forward. Two legs tire. They look for another two legs to be with, to move one set forward to music while letting the other move back. They want to... Read more »

The Writer’s Almanac for December 30, 2014

When the doctor called at 3am to tell me that only a ventilator could keep my aunt alive at that point, I stood shivering in the dark kitchen, thinking about that word, ventilator. I envisioned a dark shaft of some sort in an old office building from the fifties, when my aunt was a young... Read more »

The Writer’s Almanac for December 29, 2014

Every day, I drive by the grave of my fiancee’s father. She lost him when she was one. He’s our intimate stranger, our guardian angel, floating a la Chagall just above our heads. I go to him for love-lessons. He touches my hand with that tenderness the dead have for the living. When I touch... Read more »

The Writer’s Almanac for December 28, 2014

We drop you at O’Hare with your young husband, two slim figures under paradoxical signs: United and Departures. The season’s perfect oxymoron. Dawn is a rumor, the wind bites, but there are things fathers still can do for daughters. Off you go looking tired and New Wave under the airport’s aquarium lights, with your Coleman... Read more »

The Writer’s Almanac for December 27, 2014

When Dave calls from California to tell me his girlfriend is pregnant, it was an accident but she wants to keep it anyway, although Dave’s not so sure, he has his doubts— in fact, when he really thinks about it, not in this lifetime nor in any foreseeable lifetime does he see himself actually becoming... Read more »

The Writer’s Almanac for December 26, 2014

Justine called on Christmas day to say she was thinking of killing herself. I said, “We’re in the middle of opening presents, Justine. Could you possibly call back later, that is, if you’re still alive.” She was furious with me and called me all sorts of names which I refuse to dignify by repeating them.... Read more »