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Don Swaim Interviews


Audio Interviews with Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor and Don SwaimGarrison Keillor is the host of the radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, which was broadcasted (at the time of this interview) by American Public Radio to about 200 stations around the country. He’s also the author of Happy to Be Here, Lake Wobegone Days, Leaving Home, WLT : A Radio Romance and We Are Still Married: Stories and Letters.

Keillor talks about living in Minnesota, the state where he’s lived since he was a boy. Keillor describes life in the Midwest as a good book state, but where the people have a bad habit of smugness and self-satisfaction. In his opinion, Midwesterners have a tendency to feel intimidated by New Yorkers.

“They’re afraid of being considered unsophisticated. The subway also frightens them,” he said, as most travel in the Midwest is done by personal vehicle.

At the time of this interview in 1983, some areas of the Midwest lagged behind technologically. Keillor wasn’t sure if cable television was available to his town. In addition, he had only recently heard about microwave oven.Keillor is a religious person, as are many who reside in the Midwest.

“What else is there to inspire someone’s life,” he asked rhetorically.

He doesn’t push his religion, nor does he strive to offend those of other faiths. His religion is a big part of his programming by the way he uses it – by how he looks at things and deals with people.

To hear more about Keillor’s way of life, click on the link below.

Listen to the Garrison Keillor interview with Don Swaim, February 8, 1983
(17 min. 03 sec)

MP3 File

These files are for your personal use only.
Classroom use is permitted.
Redistribution is not permitted.

Two years later, Keillor returns for a second interview and confirms that his hometown in Minnesota (at the time of this interview) does not, in fact, have cable television available for its residents.

Keillor actually seems completely oblivious to the significance of it and of other technological advances such as television and a photo copier.

“My feeling about TV is this: something that gets better when you are drunk is extremely questionable to me. Books don’t get better when your drunk, neither does food or sex. TV is one of the few things that does. It makes me ask all sorts of questions about it.”

Keillor also talks about his writing. He writes about his radio program mainly as a way to defend himself. Many reporters have described his show, A Prairie Home Companion, as down-home, whimsical and nostalgic, all adjectives that Keillor would never use to describe his own program. He wanted to write what it really was about.

To hear from Keillor what he thinks his program is about and some more details of his life in Minnesota, click on the link below.

Listen to the Garrison Keillor interview with Don Swaim, September 3, 1985
(32 min. 24 sec)

MP3 File

These files are for your personal use only.
Classroom use is permitted.
Redistribution is not permitted.

 

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For over a decade, many of the best writers of the English language found their way onto Don Swaim's daily two-minute CBS Radio show, Book Beat. His New York-based program was derived from longer interviews, sometimes 40-minutes in length. Found exclusively here, Wired for Books proudly webcasts these conversations in their entirety using RealAudio.

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