Sierra Nevada College

Gayle Brandeis on “The Writer’s Almanac”

Gayle Brandeis’ poems were featured recently on two episodes of Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Keillor read “Feeling East” on November 1, and “Bread and Butter” on November 5. Both poems are from The Selfless Bliss of the Body, published this fall by Finishing Line Press.


The SNC community was privileged to hear her read both poems, and other recent work, in person at the Nov. 10 Writers in the Woods. She read with fellow poet Jared Stanley, author of the full-length books of poetry Ears, The Weeds and Book Made of Forest.

Bread and Butter

for Michael

I often wonder how people figured
things out—simple things like bread
and butter. How did the first person know
to grind and knead and bake,
to milk and skim and churn?
How did someone realize they could soak
olives in lye or let grape juice ferment
inside casks of oak? How, when
we first leaned toward each other,
did our tongues know to touch
before our brains knew
we were going to kiss at all?

Brandeis is a member of our English and Creative Writing faculty, and a nationally recognized author. Her novel The Book of Dead Birds won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change. Her latest book is The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving my Mother’s Suicide, a memoir.

The Writer’s Almanac is a daily radio program and podcast, begun by host Garrison Keillor in 1993, and produced and distributed by American Public Media. Each program begins with items about authors and events related to the program date, and ends with a poem chosen by Keillor. The program averages over 767,000 listeners each day on nearly 400 public radio stations. The Writer’s Almanac reaches more than 2.5 million listeners on NPR, XM Satellite Radio, and as a podcast. It is broadcast locally by Reno NPR station 88.7 KUNR at 6:45 and 8:45 AM daily.