Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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April 16, 2008 |
When I came to US from China 11 years ago, I only knew a few English words. On one lonely Saturday night I randomly tuned my radio to PHC. I couldn't understand a word you said, but the laughing and clapping from the audience and the wonderful music kept me listening. It took me a couple of years before I could start to laugh at your jokes. I went to see you in Berkeley on Feb 12. I was so happy that I am finally one of your audience who I once envied.
I want to ask you a favor. I am getting married in May this year. Could you please help recommend several short poems for my best friend to read at the wedding ceremony? I think poem is the best form to express my feeling as a joyful bride, with faith in love, commitment to marriage, and confidence in living a happy life.
An honor to make your acquaintance, my dear, and congratulations on your mastery of English. Your sentence "I was so happy that I am finally one of your audience who I once envied" is an excellent sentence, elegant and economical and very true I remember envying Danes in Copenhagen who were laughing hard at lines in a play I couldn't understand. For a wedding poem, I recommend that you consult an anthology edited by Robert Hass and Stephen Mitchell, called Into The Garden: A Wedding Anthology which has texts from various religions and poems and lyrics, all of them suitable for a wedding ceremony. I love the Yeats poem (so short you could say it yourself to your true love) Wine it comes in at the mouth, and love comes at the eye. That is all we know of truth 'fore we get old and die. I lift the glass up to my mouth, I look at you and sigh. There is Robert Burns's "My love is like a red, red rose" and "A Blessing" by James Wright, good especially if you love horses. There are many good E.E. Cummings poems, including "Since feeling is first, who pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you" and of course there is "Come live with me and be my love". I happen to love a poem by Sharon Olds called "Topography" that I daresay nobody ever recited at a wedding
After we flew across the country we got in bed, laid our bodies delicately together,
like maps laid face to face, East to West, my San Francisco against your New York,
your Fire Island against my Sonoma, my New Orleans deep in your Texas,
your Idaho bright on my Great Lakes....
And so forth. I wish you all the best in your married life, Mimi