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9/16/2005 Linfield’s Ericksen lecture to feature nature poetry

McMINNVILLE – American nature writing specialist John Elder will present a public lecture Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room at the Linfield College Nicholson Library.

Elder’s lecture, "The Poetry of Attentiveness," is sponsored by the Ken and Donna Ericksen Endowed English Department Fund. It is free and open to the public.

Elder, professor of English at Middlebury College, will examine the work and affinities of several poets of nature from the British, American and Japanese traditions, specifically focusing on William Wordsworth, John Clare, Robert Frost, Basho, Gary Snyder and Mary Oliver. Elder’s talk will include readings from various passages and a discussion of the pertinence of literature to the environmental challenges facing society today.

"All of these writers found in nature a power for both personal and cultural renewal," said Elder, who along with his family, has a sugaring operation in the hills above Starksboro, Vt.

Elder has taught English and environmental studies at Middlebury College since 1973. As a teacher and writer, his central interests are American nature writing, British Romanticism, Basho and the Japanese haiku tradition, and the American environmental movement. His last three books, "Reading the Mountains of Home," "The Frog Run" and "Sugarbush and Olive Grove" (forthcoming), all connect poetry and the Vermont landscape with personal memoir.

Elder earned a B.A. from Pomona College and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He is a recipient of both the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship.

In addition to the public lecture, Elder will also meet with students and faculty and attend classes during his visit.

Ericksen, a professor at Linfield since 1965, created the endowment in memory of his wife, Donna, a Linfield alumna, who taught reading, writing and English in the Hillsboro School District for 25 years. The endowment allows the English Department to bring speakers to campus for several days to work with faculty and students and to present a public lecture.

For more information, call 503-883-2583.