Gwen Frostic Lecture Series

Gwen Frostic Lecture Series

The 2011-2012 Gwen Frostic Lecture Series

Presented by the Environmental Studies program, with the University Center for the Humanities and the Department of English. All readings are free and open to the public.

Download Event Fliers:
Elizabeth Dodd | Tom Montgomery Fate | Alison Swan | Jerry Dennis

Schedule of Events

Elizabeth Dodd, Professor, Kansas State University

Title: Correspondences: Elizabeth Bishop, BP, and Me
Monday, October 3, 6 p.m.
Edwin & Mary Meader Rare Book Reading Room (#3016), Waldo Library, WMU

Description: In “Questions of Travel”, her Brazilian poems of the 1960s, as well as throughout the plentiful letters she wrote to friends and family in the U.S., Elizabeth Bishop celebrated the resilient ecology of the Amazonian landscape even while she lamented the violence and plunder of the nation's colonial past. She wrote at the historical moment just before automobile travel and highway construction would further fragment the rainforest. Professor Dodd’s travel to the region took place half a century later, during the BP oil spill. Dodd’s narrative scholarship takes a personal perspective on the poetry, the place, and the alarming stain of peak oil.

Dodd Biography: Distinguished University Professor Elizabeth Dodd teaches creative writing—poetry and nonfiction—as well as numerous courses in literature and women's studies, especially those with a focus on environment at Kansas State University (KSU). Her essays, poems and articles have appeared widely in a variety of journals and magazines and she has published several books. Her latest book, In the Mind’s Eye: Essays Across the Animate World, appeared from University of Nebraska Press in September, 2008. She's also the author of Prospect: Journeys & Landscapes (University of Utah Press, 2003), winner of the William Rockhill Nelson Best Nonfiction Book Award; two collections of poetry, Like Memory, Caverns, which won the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award from New York University Press in 1992, and Archetypal Light, published by the University of Nevada Press in 2001. She is on the editorial board of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. Dodd has twice won the Stamey Award for outstanding teaching from KSU's College of Arts and Sciences, and she has twice won the Kansas Arts Council's Fellowship in Poetry.

Tom Montgomery Fate, Professor, College of DuPage

Title: Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild
Monday, October 24, 6 p.m.
Edwin & Mary Meader Rare Book Reading Room (#3016), Waldo Library, WMU

Description: Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan. This is the serious yet irreverent sensibility that suffuses Tom Montgomery Fate’s new book, “Cabin Fever” (Beacon Press, 2011), as the author seeks to apply the hermit-philosopher’s insights to a busy modern life. In this seasonal nature memoir, Fate takes readers on a search for the wild both in the woods and within ourselves. In his exploration of how we are to live "a more deliberate life" amid a high-tech material world, Fate invites readers into an interrogation of their own lives, and into a new kind of vision: the possibility of enough in a culture of more.

Fate Biography: Professor Tom Montgomery Fate teaches a variety of fiction and nonfiction writing courses at the College of DuPage located in suburban Chicago. He is the author of five books of nonfiction, including Beyond the White Noise (1997), a collection of essays, Steady and Trembling (2005), a spiritual memoir, and Cabin Fever (2011), a nature memoir. His essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Orion, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Riverteeth, Sojourners, Christian Century, and many other journals and anthologies; and they regularly air on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio.

Alison Swan, Adjunct Professor, Western Michigan University

Title: No Complacency: Words, Imagination, and Calls to Action
Monday, November 14th, 6 p.m.
Edwin & Mary Meader Rare Book Reading Room (#3016), Waldo Library, WMU

Description: Award-winning writer and wildlands advocate, Alison Swan, has been immersed in the literary arts for as long as she can remember. Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction have been central to her connection and commitment to the wild places that have shaped her. She’ll talk about this, and read from some of the poems and prose she’s written as she works to preserve space for wild nature in an increasingly built-up Michigan.

Swan Biography: Alison Swan is the creator of Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes, a Michigan Notable Book, and coauthor of The Saugatuck Dunes: Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape. Her poems and prose have appeared in many publications, most recently in Michigan Quarterly Review, Dunes Review, and TriQuarterly. Recipient of the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for Grassroots Environmental Leadership, she has been working to preserve the Saugatuck Dunes since 2001. She teaches a course on major environmental writings at Western Michigan University.

Jerry Dennis

Title: The Windward Shore: A Winter on the Great Lakes
Thursday, February 9th, 6 p.m.
Edwin & Mary Meader Rare Book Reading Room (#3016), Waldo Library, WMU

Description: If you have been enchanted by Jerry Dennis’s earlier works on sailing the Great Lakes, canoeing, angling, and the natural wonders of water and sky—or if you have not yet been lucky enough to enjoy his engaging prose—you will want to immerse yourself in his powerful and insightful new book about winter in Great Lakes country. Grounded by a knee injury, Dennis learns to live at a slower pace while staying in houses ranging from a log cabin on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula to a $20-million mansion on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Walking beaches and exploring nearby woods and villages, he muses on the nature of time, weather, waves, agates, books, words for snow and ice, our complex relationship with nature, and much more.

Dennis Biography: Jerry Dennis has earned his living through writing since 1986, and is the author of many literary and popular works about nature, science, and outdoor recreation. His essays and stories in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, Orion, Wildlife Conservation, National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Gray's Sporting Journal, and many other publications have won numerous awards and are frequently anthologized. Awards for perhaps Dennis’ best known previous book, “The Living Great Lakes” (St. Martin’s Press, 2003), include the 2004 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the Best Book of the Year from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Stuart D. and Vernice Gross Award for Excellence in Literature, the Great Lakes Culture Award from Michigan State University, and was selected as a “2004 Michigan Notable Book” by the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Library Association. He is a frequent guest lecturer at universities, has been a commentator on national and regional public radio, and serves on the faculty of the University of Michigan’s Bear River Writers Conference, where he teaches nature writing and creative non-fiction. 


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