Keillor Reads Potter

About a month ago, I sent my book, House of Words, to Garrison Keillor. Mr. Keillor is a busy man, an astonishingly prolific writer of many funny, fabulous books and a tireless maestro of radio magic; so I doubted he would have time to even hold my little house of words in his hands. Surely he has people who intercept these things as they arrive, and surely these people would take one look at my book and fail to recognize its breathtaking brilliance. And off the poor little pageturner would go to a recycle bin in some Dylanesque Minneapolis back alley and thence to the frozen prairie pile of some St. Paul pulpmill, eventually to be made into paper for Mr. Keillor’s next book.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, just yesterday, Korrektiv Press received an email from one Kathy Roach. Mrs. Roach, with whom I later had the pleasure of speaking on the telephone, was writing to request permission for Mr. Keillor to read one of the poems from the book on the following Monday’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac. That’s three days from now! Korrektiv Press gleefully granted permission, as did I, and so the wheels were set in motion for my one minute of fame. I’ll take it! And thanks to the magic of the World Wide Web, we can time travel forward to Monday and experience The Writer’s Almanac right now on Friday night. Thank you, Garrison Keillor, for a splendid reading of my poem, “You and I.” You, sir, are all those things; and I am the discoverer of you. Or is it the other way around? See how that can turn? Either way, I am giddy with gratitude, grateful with gidditude, and feeling slightly above average.


  1. That’s very nice if true. However, just as Korrektiv has admitted to some of its contributors having multiple personas, I wouldn’t put it past Mr Potter to pretend to be Garrison Keillor.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Y’all have it the wrong way ’round: Keillor’s been pretending to be Potter for forty-odd years now.

    • Jonathan Potter says

      And who are you, “Churchill”?

      • Karin Head says

        I was driving when I heard Garrison Keillor read “You and I”. I leaned forward to catch every word but it was over too soon. The images and phrases were a pure delight and I wanted more. I went home and ordered your book from Amazon. I haven’t felt this excited about a poet since Roberto Juarroz and” Vertical Poetry”. Keep writing. Karin

        • Jonathan Potter says

          Thank you Karin. I hope you like the book. I’ve got Merwin’s translation of Vertical Poetry on order from the library now, too. Thanks for that.

  2. And isn’t Ms Roach a relative of the author?

  3. It would be interesting if Keillor recalled the brash fellow who placed a note in his jacket pocket as he was “warming up the crowd” at the WSU Prairie Home Companion. I was sure security would take you away in cuffs.

  4. Jonathan Webb says

    It took 46 years but Silverbacks’ finally proud (“you ain’t gonna amount to nothin’ son”).

  5. Southern Expat says

    There is no sound as sonorous as the voice of Garrison Keillor saying “Korrektiv Press.”

  6. My entire family is enthralled by you.

    …making your visit a moral imperative now.


    • Jonathan Potter says

      I’m enthralled by the mystery of JOB’s family as well. They stand behind a velvet Wisconsin curtain in my mind, waiting to be revealed.

      • Once we get this picture issue taking care of, I might give a peak behind the curtain.

        Well, when they get back from Texas, anyway.


  7. Did the programme go ahead? Was it real?

    • Jonathan Potter says

      Strangely for us, yes, it was real. It does seem like on of our larks, though, don’t it. By the way, Churchill, are you by any chance the visitor formerly known as Anonymous? I like your new name.

  8. I don’t know whether to believe you. And you know I’m anonymous.

  9. Though soon to become famous if I stay on korrektiv.

  10. How cool is that for the Korrektiv collective! Congrats, Mr. Potter!

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