I’ve mentioned Minnesota Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac” before. Kate started getting it a while ago and started reading me some of the poetry and literary notes that are part of the daily email. Then she signed me up, and then I signed my dad up. It’s the best day-to-day email “newsletter” I’ve ever gotten and usually superbly written and edited.
A recent example: While I was back in Chicago, I missed the almanac for Sept. 11 (the archiving isn’t ideal; you’ll have to scroll down to find the day’s entry). The poem offered that day was “To a Terrorist,” by Stephen Dunn (from his book “Between Angels“):
“For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem
without hope, knowing there’s nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one
might offer his father’s ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there’s nothing else to do.
Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall
in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you’re hating me now,
I who own my own house
and live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.
Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man’s holiness another’s absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,
the surge. I’m just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.
The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.”