Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ALA & Garrison

I'll probably have several ALA/DC related posts, but I didn't bring a laptop and computer time has been ridiculously hard to get. But...
I just attended the final keynote session, Garrison Keilor featured. I've long been a fan, for many reasons, and he didn't fail me now (a bow to the little feat). His talk was a somewhat rambling monologue of how he has related to, and existed in, libraries from youth to this day, including one funny story about a library where the librarians were men who all smoked pipes. But in a nutshell, and this is to do the entire monlogue a diservice (I'll link to it if it becomes available), he championed libraries as place: places that were true landmarks, and in some cases pinnacles, of democracy. Places that anyone could enter, read an astonishing diversity of work, sit in silence and think, write or dream (the only other places I can think of in a city to do this are churches, and to a lesser extent parks), and that in this librarians and libraries have a tremendous responsibility. In an age of political tough talk, machismo swagger, and outright threats, libraries and librarians are more authentic defenders of democratic liberty. At times moving, boring, whimsical, enlightening, hysterical, GK is a true American legend, and a champion of the word, the book as object, and like Kerouac, Whitman and others, the true, honest and generous American landscape.
Briefly, on other notes, I'm reading the latest novel by Michael Ondaatje (Divisadero) and was pleased to find a reference to the poet Ed Dorn. That alone, to my mind, makes it worth reading.
All for now.


borneman said...

Just reading in the new issue of Orion, "Ten Dispatches about Place" by John Berger.

Open meadow meditations.

Maybe a library is an urban meadow, to which we are permitted to enter.

Dorn remains a major voice for our time: check out the new collection, WAY MORE WEST.

I'm not huge fan of GK--I rarely make it through one of his broadcasts. And the movie was a total sleeper god rest Herr Altman's soul.

HOWEVER, a couple of weeks ago Keilor read 3 poems by Kenneth Rexroth to cello during his show--amazing. A true service to poetry in our time. I got out my Collected Rexroth and spent an hour revivifying my appreciation of this major American poet.

Miguel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miguel said...

I've always loved Keillor, his narratives and monologues, and especially his championship of poetry.

Your post made me miss working in a library - its only been a little over two months, but it suddenly seems longer...

July 2, 2007 3:49 PM

piper said...

Bill & Miguel, thanks for the feedback. Web as community, community as nets, nets catch fish, fish are brilliant in sunlight.
I will check out the dorn, fer sure.
I have similar problems with GK, but probably tip the balance in his favor. My first Keilor memories emerge from the Bitterroot Valley while living in a teepee up Fred Burr Creek. His show was a common saturday night divertissement.
The movie, unfortunately, particularly as Altman's swan song, didn't make the grade, puttered out.
But I do appreciate his, Keilor's pushing the poem. I didn't catch the Rexroth, but will see if it's stashed somewhere. I've been swamped since I've been back, but hope to get to posting tomorrow or friday. Bill, will be in Helena around the 6th or 7th of August.