Garrison Keillor asks dreary poets to lighten up


If your poetry is a downer, it's best you don't ask Garrison Keillor to read it.

The author and longtime host of "A Prairie Home Companion" tells Minnesota Public Radio in a new interview that poets really need to reconsider writing about bleak subjects.

"Poets my age are now writing poems about the illness, the demise of their elderly parents," Keillor tells MPR. "It's such a dreary landscape. Give me a break."

Keillor says what distinguishes people are the different ways they make each other laugh. The things people enjoy and laughter highlights "what we love about the world," he says.

Loneliness and grief, on the other hand, "is pretty much the same as everybody else's," says Keillor, adding that "sorrow is generic."

Keillor was on MPR to discuss "O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound," his first book of poems.

In the book, Keillor reflects on daily life, love, politics and religion.

National Public Radio asked Keillor in September about why he finally decided to take on poetry.

"I love rhymes, I love to write a poem about New York and rhyme 'oysters' with 'The Cloisters,'" Keillor told NPR.

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