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Creating & Writing a Sustainable Rural Life, with Gretchen Legler and Maine State Poet Laureate Julia Bouwsma
Tuesday, January 17 -- 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
“Woodsqueer” is sometimes used to describe the mindset of a person who has taken to the wild for an extended period of time. Gretchen Legler is no stranger to life away from the rapid-fire pace of the twenty-first century, which can often lead to a kind of stir-craziness. Her latest book Woodsqueer chronicles her experiences intentionally focusing on not just making a living but making a life—in this case, an agrarian one more in tune with the earth on eighty acres in backwoods Maine. Gretchen will read from her work and will be joined in conversation by Maine State Poet Laureate Julia Bouwsma, as they discuss how the work of rural living provides both a lens and lessons for the work of writing and for the work of being a human being in a complex world. An audience Q&A with the authors will follow.
This program will take place in person at the library and will be streamed simultaneously on Zoom, for those wishing to attend virtually. If you plan on attending, please register for this program below so that we can send you a reminder on the day of the event, as well as an optional Zoom link to join us. All are welcome!
Please register by filling out the form below
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Gretchen Legler is a farmer, gardener, teacher, writer, and lover of the natural world. She’s the author of three booklength works of nonfiction:All The Powerful Things: A Sportswoman’s Notebook, On The Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station Antarctica, and Woodsqueer: Crafting a Sustainable Rural Life. Her writing has garnered two Pushcart Prizes, a Notable Essay designation in Best American Essays, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment creative writing award, a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, and was a finalist for the Steinberg Essay Prize, and the Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction. She teaches creative writing and English at the University of Maine Farmington, where she is also the Director of the Campus and Community Garden.
Her curiosity about the wonders of the natural world has taken her far and wide, including to the Kingdom of Bhutan where she spent a year as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, to Antarctica as a fellow of the National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program, and on a 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
Gretchen has been teaching creative writing for more than 30 years in MFA and undergraduate programs and community workshops in Alaska, Maine, Boston, New Hampshire and elsewhere. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from Macalester College, a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where her interests focused on exploring human connections to the sacred in the natural world. She also holds a Master Gardener Certificate from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She currently serves on the Board of the Franklin County Maine Cooperative Extension Service, doing her small part to promote the growing and sharing of wholesome food, and to “inspire love of the natural world in this and the next generation.”
Julia Bouwsma lives off-the-grid in the mountains of western Maine, where she is a poet, homesteader, editor, teacher, small-town librarian and Maine’s sixth Poet Laureate (2021-2026). Bouwsma is the author of two poetry collections, Midden(Fordham University Press, 2018) and Work by Bloodlight (Cider Press Review, 2017), both of which received the Maine Literary Award for Poetry Book. Other honors include the Poet’s Out Loud Prize (2016-17), the Cider Press Review Book Award (2015), and residency fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Monson Arts (Monson, ME), and Annex Arts (Castine, ME). Bouwsma’s poems and book reviews can be found in Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, River Styx, and other journals. She currently serves as the Library Director for Webster Library in Kingfield, ME and teaches in the Creative Writing department at the University of Maine at Farmington.