Garret Keizer and I stood together in a field, in the late summer, in the Northeast Kingdom, and he read poems from his new book, The World Pushes Back.
I first heard of Garret a few years ago when I read his book, Getting Schooled, about his years as a high school teacher up here in the Kingdom. He described this place more honestly and more humanely…than anything I’d ever read about the place before. And his stories about his own experience teaching are almost brutally honest. I’ve never read an account of teaching quite like it.
Garret’s one of the only writers where I find myself copying whole passages down from his work, as if I’ll need them later. They’re not always easy or nice things I copy down. Garret Keizer is one of the most critical and also most contemplative people I’ve ever met. I write these passages down because they remind me of something fundamental about being human that I don’t want to forget.
He’s just come out with his first book of poetry, so we drove around and talked in his car until we found the perfect field to read poetry in. It was some of the best, and most surprising conversation I’ve had in a long time.
Links and Credits
For more of Garret’s work, visit his site here.
One of my favorite articles he’s written for Harper’s is called Requiem for the Private Word….
Garret will be the headlining reader at the opening ceremony of the Burlington Book Festival on September 27th at 7:00. For more information, go here.
Music for this show is by Vermont musician Brian Clark
And thanks also to my wonderful sponsor, Honey Road. The best restaurant in Burlington. Click below to read about the menu…
Perfect show. It’s wonderful to hear the voice beneath some fantastic writing I’ve appreciated over the years. A quick correction: some of the music for the show was also written by Mike Donofrio,of Montpelier, VT. Thank you for the work you do.
This was delightfully entertaining. I especially enjoyed listening with my eyes closed, in the presence of a cool Fall breeze. Thank you for this!
Among my favorites, Erica. Thank you!
Ahhhh yes. I will be listening to this again and then again in order to up my chances of taking it fully in. Especially thought provoking and uplifting: Garret’s clear minded description of what faith, sentiment and sacredness mean to him. These are three aspects/concepts of life that often seem either dismissed out-of-hand or else lived to the extreme.
I look forward to reading his poetry.
The podcast with poet Garret is a delight. I wanted to hear every word. You are so skilled at identifying worthwhile subject matter. And you have mastery with teasing out delicious morsels and also getting out of your guest’s way. I love so many of your pieces, but this one in particular really spoke to me. Thanks for your inspiring work. Eric
Thank you, both of you. What a wonderful podcast. I was extremely fortunate to have had Garrett as a teacher in high school in the Northeast Kingdom. What a treasure. He continues to challenge me, a long ago student, and I respond by continuing to learn. I thank him for that.
Thank you, Erica. This was one of those stories that really shines a light on the beauty of humanity and reason. Garret’s wisdom is inspiring, his choreography of words a gorgeous ethereal dance. It effected the way I have thought about the world the last few days, for the better, and have shared it with friends and family so they could benefit as well.
I’ve corresponded with Garret in years past and read his work but never met or heard him. He’s like a glass of pure spring water. Clearly, a mind set loose by free association. Thank you.
All Rumble Strip stories are top notch, but this one was even better. I always like your unobtrusive questions that make the interview completely about your guest and allows them space to open up. In this case, Mr Keizer had so much to share and for me to contemplate that I had to listen to it a few times to get everything into my head. His riff regarding Tony Bennet and not “sinning against your talent” was very uplifting
Thank you for all the time you put into your one of a kind stories.
Thank you Kurt! And I agree. That whole riff about not sinning against your talent, and about the role of faith…I was praying through that entire recording that my recorder was working properly because it was all…remarkable. That man has a remarkable brain and heart. I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for listening….e