Garrison Keillor returns to the public arena with an ruminative essay in the August Harper's magazine
Keillor had retired from his long-running Prairie Home Companion show when Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media severed ties with him in 2017 over sexual harassment charges. A woman associated with the show claimed multiple inappropriate incidents. Keillor countered that he'd once briefly touched the woman's back while seeking to comfort her over a personal misfortune.
Whatever the truth, the public radio companies acted with shocking haste, yanking Keillor's popular Writers' Almanac from the airwaves, even removing the show's archives from the Internet. After losing their weekly communion with his Saturday night radio hour, Keillor fans were now deprived of his daily poetry boost. Keillor also lost his recently launched Washington Post column, which soothed liberal shock over Trump's election.
Now living in New York City, Keillor in the Harper's piece reflects upon the democratic spirit of the city's public plazas, shifting to personal reminisces about the city's generosity and sense of optimism. He also looks back on his Minnesota roots, and joyful moments from his radio career. As with his Washington Post column, Keillor recalls the whimsical, humane style of E.B. White and Russell Baker.
Keillor's Writers' Almanac has also returned. According to reports, Keillor has reached a settlement with MPR and APM that restores the show's Internet archives and allows him to do the daily show on his web page and as a podcast. Along with personal appearances, he's writing a play based on his Dusty and Lefty cowboy characters, a screenplay called "Flag Day," and a collection of limericks, according to his Harper's author's note.
I'm glad to have Keillor back. His serene, elegiac and benevolent voice gives light in a dark time.