O, What a Luxury NPR coverage of O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound by Garrison Keillor. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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O, What a Luxury

Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound

by Garrison Keillor

Hardcover, 170 pages, Pgw, List Price: $20 |


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O, What a Luxury
Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound
Garrison Keillor

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Book Summary

The host of A Prairie Home Companion presents his first collection of poetry, featuring his reflections on daily life, love, politics, and religion in verse.

Read an excerpt of this book


NPR stories about O, What a Luxury

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994. Courtesy of Grove Press hide caption

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Courtesy of Grove Press

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: O, What A Luxury


Billy the Kid
Didn't do half of what they said he did.
He rustled cattle, I guess it's true,
But bad men was who they belonged to.
He killed some guys, but if you knew 'em
You'd say they had it coming to 'em.

Billy the Kid went on the run
Down to Mesilla in 1881.
Sheriff Pat Garrett put on the heat
And came to the ranch of Billy's friend Pete
But it wasn't Billy who was shot by Pat,
It was someone wearing his pants and hat.
Billy the Kid was miles away
In Santa Fe with flowers in his hair
And I know cuz I was there.

He made a fortune in fermented juices
And built a mansion in Las Cruces,
Changed his name to William Bonney,
Wrote "Way Down Upon the Swanee"
And he may have been guilty to a degree
But he was always good to me
And generous to my family.
Always sent us a Christmas turkey
From Albuquerque
And chocolate candy
From the Rio Grande
And an embroidered pillow
From Amarillo.

I spoke at his funeral long ago.
He was living in San Luis Obispo,
Big house
On the beach.
I gave a nice speech.
People were impressed.
They didn't know he was
The most famous outlaw in the West,
Feared from Tucson to Reno.
They knew him as Rudy Valentino.


Where the temp gets down to thirty below
And it's perfectly flat, miles of snow,
And you ask why I live in this desolate spot.
Why? Because you do not.

You in loud clothes
With lacquered hair
And monster pickups
And not much upstairs,
Who whoop in church
And worship the Word,
For whom evolution
Has not yet occurred.
The men shoot gators
Out in the marsh,
While the women stay home
And hang up the warsh.
It's all about rifles
And the second comin'
And wave the flag
And down with Gummint
And up with football
And the G.O.P.
Now what if those people
Lived next door to me?

And the only thing
That keeps them away
Is the fact it will hit
Minus thirty today?
Winter's a challenge
But it can be faced
When you're among people
With brains and good taste.

O, WHAT A LUXURY Copyright 2013 by Garrison Keillor; used with the permission of the publisher, Grove/Atlantic, Inc.