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May 1, 2018 LA GRANDE, Ore. – As campus buzzes with the sights and sounds of spring, Eastern Oregon University welcomes writer and beekeeper Heather Swan to read from her most recent collection, “Where the Bees Thrive: Stories from the Field.”
Swan will read selections exploring interdisciplinary responses to honeybee decline as part of the Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Poetica Literary Lecture Series. Her reading is free to the public and will be held at 7:30 p.m., on May 10 in the Zabel Hall auditorium.
Through a combination of creative non-fiction and visual imagery, Swan tells the stories of the beekeepers, farmers, artists, entomologists, ecologists and other advocates working to stem the damage and reverse course for this critical pollinator. Using her own quest for understanding as a starting point, Swan highlights the innovative projects and strategies these groups employ.
Swan reveals the complex political ecology in which bees live while suggesting ways of comprehending and tackling conflicts between post-industrial society and the natural world. Each chapter closes with an illustrative, full-color gallery of bee-related artwork.
An informative journey from the worlds of honey producers, urban farmers and mead makers in the United States to those in China and southern Africa, Swan’s collection traces the global web of efforts to secure a sustainable future for honeybees.
“Where Honeybees Thrive” has received high praise from writers and scholars, including Eric Brown, editor of Insect Poetics.
“With a lyrical, searching style that recalls the best of Annie Dillard, Swan argues eloquently and persuasively both for the urgent need to intervene in this global crisis and for the myriad ways in which mindfulness about bees can help human beings understand themselves more deeply,” Brown wrote.
In addition to her public reading, Swan will meet with students enrolled in EOU’s Arts, Music, and Literature of the Anthropocene course on campus. She’ll also join a field trip to Starkey Experimental Forest and Range with wild pollinator researcher, Sandy DeBano of Oregon State University. On May 11, she’ll go to Wallowa County for a field trip and reading engagement.
Swan teaches environmental literature and writing at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She has a doctorate in Literary and Environmental Studies, and is also a visual artist and photographer.
Her reading at EOU is co-sponsored by the Blue Mountains Conservancy, the Greater Hells Canyon Council, the U.S. Forest Service-Pacific Northwest Research Station, the Friends of Ladd Marsh and Xerxes Society.
For more information, contact David Axelrod at 541-962-3633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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