Saturday, April 07, 2007

Janisse Ray

Jannisse Ray Speaking at FMU
Janisse Ray's visit to FMU was a hit with students and faculty alike. She spoke twice on March 28, afternoon and evening. Many classes have been reading her Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Her visit was jointly sponsored by the Biology and English faculties. She arrived late the night before. Early in the morning she met several biologists for a field trip to a local longleaf pine forest. Her passion is the salvation of our environment in general and the revival of the longleaf forests in particular. Both the afternoon session (when she focused on the memoir) and evening session (when she talked more generally and passionately about writing and the environment) were well-attended. In between, for dinner, the biologists organized a Thai meal at The Brass Lantern. Later on, a reception at The Cottage, which I missed because of my trip back to Columbia. Ray was personable, engaging, and especially good with students. Her radical ecological message might have been a bit much for some to swallow, but so be it. She doesn't hold back. She is a masterful reader of her own work--often seeming to have passages memorized.

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