cover image We Are Still Married

We Are Still Married

Garrison Keillor. Viking Books, $18.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82647-6

The Wizard of Lake Woebegon here collects ``in one neat pile'' 10 poems and 57 prose pieces, ranging in length from less than a page to as many as 22, ``written at the time of Ronald Reagan, the President who never told bad news to the American people.'' Selected mostly from his contributions to the New Yorker , these short works by the Minnesota humorist ``who does comedy in slow motion'' vary in subject matter from porches, cold, Gettysburg, yard sales, sneezes, Woodlawn Cemetery and travel notes to the fate of the last cigarette smokers in the U.S., how to write 50-word postcards gracefully, the hardships of serving in the Indiana National Guard's public information battalion and ``The Meaning of Life,'' described as ``the extreme persistence of gentleness and humor.'' Taken singly, the pieces amuse, bemuse or arouse; in bulk, they stand up less well, because they are repetitive and not fully developed. (Apr.)