Lauret Savoy

Free Public Lecture

Lauret Savoy: Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape


Thursday, November 3, 2016
7:00 PM
H.F. DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
330 N. Orchard (map)


Lauret Edith Savoy's life and work draw from her need to put the eroded world into language, to remember fragmented pasts into present. A woman of African American, Euro-American, and Native American heritage, she explores the stories we tell of the American land's origins - and the stories we tell of ourselves in this land. For her, writing of the complex intertwinings of natural and cultural histories is a way of seeking home among the ruins and shards that surround us all. The work is as necessary as breath.

Lauret's latest book is Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint Press), which won the 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. It was also a finalist for the 2016 PEN American Open Book Award and Phillis Wheatley Book Award, as well as shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. With Alison Hawthorne Deming, she co-edited The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, expanded and revised in 2011). She also compiled and edited Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology (2006, with Eldridge and Judy Moores), and coauthored Living with the Changing California Coast (2005, with Gary Griggs and Kiki Patsch). Lauret's essays and other writings have appeared in the Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Huffington Post, Travel & Leisure, ArtForum, Christian Science Monitor, and Orion magazine, as well as in books such as Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.

Lauret is a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College, a photographer, and pilot. Born in California, and a familial native of Washington, D.C., she graduated cum laude from Princeton University, then received her M.S. in earth sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Winner of Mount Holyoke's Distinguished Teaching Award, she has also held fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and Yale University. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

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