Title: English Majors: A Comedy Collection for the Highly Literate

Author: Garrison Keillor/ Prairie Home Companion

2 disc set

Summary: These discs are a collection of a variety of skits, stories, poems, etc as they were presented on “The Prairie Home Companion” radio show.  Included are “The Six-Minute Hamlet” and the “Ten-Minute Macbeth,” advertisements for P.O.E.M (the Professional Organization of English Majors), and a skit with Dave Barry.

I had forgotten how fun this collection is until I listened to it again this afternoon.  It’s a satisfying blend of humor, literature, and drama.  Granted, because this is a collection taken from many years worth of shows, there is a certain amount of repetition (Hamlet, for example, is parodied at least twice); however, each version contains a slightly different take on it, so it’s still worth your listening time. 

I grew up with my mother reading to me, and Garrison’s “News from Lake Woebegone” segments remind me of  that feeling– comfortable and safe, but also full of meaning.  He evokes details from his life in the Mid-West, but his stories are nearly universal in their appeal. For example, in a story on the second disc, he describes his uncle’s combover and “watching the sun set through his hair.”

As for the poetry segments– they are well-read overall.  Billy Collins, Roy Blount, Jr, Robert Bly, and Calvin Trillin are some of the authors included.  Mostly, the authors read their own works.  Since poetry is such an auditory genre, with its cadence and rhyme, that hearing the authors speak their own poems is a rare and excellent experience. 

If you enjoy the beauty of words, this is the collection for you.

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