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Writers@Grinnell: Edward Hirsch

Celebrated poet Edward Hirsch ’72 will join Professor of English Ralph Savarese in a conversation about poetry and parenting at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Faulconer Gallery.

 “‘If the Music is Too Loud You’re Too Old:’ A Conversation with Edward Hirsch ’72 about Poetry, Parenting, Disability, and Grief” will use Hirsch’s most recent publication, “Gabriel,” to open discussion. “Gabriel” is a book-length elegy for Hirsch’s late son. This free public event, which is part of the Writers@Grinnell series, will be streamed live.

Hirsch also will lead an informal roundtable discussion about “Reading as Relationship” at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center Room 209. This event also is open to the public at no charge.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

About the Participants

Edward Hirsch

President of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation since 2003, Hirsch has been honored with numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, the Prix de Rome and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award. He was also elected chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2008.

Hirsch is the author of nine collections of poetry, including a Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award winner, a Lavan Younger Poets Award winner and a National Book Critics Award winner. He has also published five books of prose, including the national bestseller “How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry.”

Ralph Savarese

Savarese, who co-directs the Writers @Grinnell series, is the author of Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption and co-editor of Papa PhD: Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy.

About Writers @Grinnell

Writers@Grinnell logoWriters@Grinnell brings to campus authors of all kinds: poets, novelists, memoirists, essayists, radio essayists, columnists, graphic memoirists, playwrights, and short story writers.

Believing language to be a dynamic and communal medium, we give its crafted versions the attention they deserve, and we take seriously the importance of diverse perspectives. Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, the program hosts an annual distinguished author reading. Such authors have included Alison Bechdel, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Edward P. Jones, Adrienne Rich, Marilynne Robinson, and W.S. Merwin. In addition to readings and roundtables, the program funds two six-week short courses taught by writers from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and it helps students to find internships in writing-related professions.

Reading by Austrian writer, Teresa Präauer

Teresa Praauer photo

Teresa Präauer

The Department of German welcomes Austrian fiction writer, essayist, and visual artist, Teresa Präauer, to campus for a reading on Wednesday, October 7th at 7:30p.m. in the Burling Library Lounge.

Teresa Präauer is the author of the novels Johnny und Jean (2014) and Für den Herrscher aus Übersee [For the Emperor from Overseas], which received the Aspekte prize for best German-language prose debut of 2012, as well as of a book of poetry postcards entitled [Pigeons’ Letters] (2009). In 2015 she received a Droste and a Hölderlin promotion award, and was shortlisted for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize. She regularly publishes on the subjects of poetry, theatre, pop culture and fine arts.

Grinnell Prize Honors Social Justice Innovators

The power of words and language to effect positive change in individuals and societies is the focus of the 2015 Grinnell Prize, the largest monetary award presented by a U.S. college recognizing achievements in social justice.

Grinnell College has selected two winners of the $100,000 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize this year:

Each prizewinner will receive $50,000 as an individual and $50,000 for her organization.

Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington will present the prizes at an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell. Ahenkorah and Vertkin will talk about their work during the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.

Deborah Ahenkorah, Golden Baobab

Ahenkorah, 28, founded Golden Baobab in 2008 in Accra, Ghana, to encourage the creation, production and distribution of high-quality, culturally relevant children's literature by Africans for Africans. The first arts and literary organization to win a Grinnell Prize, Golden Baobab nurtures emerging African writers and illustrators through annual awards (with cash prizes), as well as workshops to provide resources and develop talent. The organization has formed its own literary agency and publishing company. Ahenkorah was nominated for the Grinnell Prize by her sister, Eunice, a 2013 graduate of Grinnell College.


Maria Vertkin, Found in Translation

Vertkin, 29, started Found in Translation in 2011 in Boston to support and train homeless and low-income bilingual women to start careers as professional medical interpreters. The organization attacks the twin challenges of economic disadvantages faced by minority women, as well as racial, ethnic, and linguistic disparities in health care. From 20 to 30 women graduate from the program each year, earning a certificate in medical interpretation and receiving career placement services.

Grinnell Prize Week Offers New Events

The award winners also will participate in Grinnell Prize Week from Oct. 26-29. They will meet with students, faculty and staff to discuss their approaches to social justice, sources of inspiration and success in overcoming obstacles. This year, for the first time, the week includes an art exhibition and the Spark Tank Innovation Challenge.

Current Styles in African Illustration

Colorful open-air market scene Xanele Puren, South Africa, Reproduced with permission from the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators

"Current Styles in African Illustration" will open Monday, Oct. 26, in Burling Gallery on the lower level of Burling Library.

It will highlight distinguished and contemporary children's illustration in Africa by showcasing submissions to the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators, which honors current and distinctive African illustrators from throughout the continent.

An opening reception for Ahenkorah of Golden Baobab and the exhibition will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. Oct. 26 in Burling Gallery.

The exhibition, presented by the Faulconer Gallery in conjunction with the staff of Golden Baobab, will run through Dec. 18. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.

The Spark Tank Innovation Challenge 2015

Spark Tank Challenge - logoThe Spark Tank Innovation Challenge has paired Grinnell College students with educators in the Grinnell-Newburg School District to form 17 teams seeking innovative ways to address challenges in the public schools. Each team has been working to address a challenge by devising a solution that is innovative, practical, and beneficial.

Some of the challenges, identified by local educators and the Grinnell Schools Task Force, include:

  • Developing non-traditional methods of holding students accountable for their actions;
  • Making lunchtime a positive experience; and
  • Increasing underrepresented populations in STEM fields.

Student teams selected as finalists will have three minutes to pitch their innovations to the judges in a live event. The event, inspired by the "Shark Tank" TV show, is free and open to the public and will start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Roberts Theatre, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

The judges — 2015 prizewinners and two local educators — will select three winning teams that will share a total of $22,500 in prize money to carry out their innovative projects. Each team also will receive a $250 cash prize.

Nominations Due Nov. 9 for 2016 Grinnell Prize

The College is accepting nominations for the 2016 Grinnell Prize through Nov. 9. No affiliation with Grinnell College is required.

Established by Grinnell College in 2010, the Innovator for Social Justice Prize honors individuals demonstrating leadership in their fields and showing creativity, commitment and extraordinary accomplishment in bringing about positive social change.

Grinnell College presented the first prizes in 2011. Since then, 12 prizes with a total value of $1.2 million have been awarded, including the two for 2015.

Witness for Peace: Alfredo Lopez

Alfredo Lopez will discuss his work with the grassroots La Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña/The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in Alumni Recitation Hall Auditorium, Room 302.

OFRANEH, which has existed since the 1970s, is dedicated to defending the rights of Garifuna peoples in northern Honduras, who have been subject to displacement from their land and acts of violence.

His presentation will focus on militarization and violence in Garifuna communities, including:

  • the dynamics of racism and state violence against Garifuna communities, and
  • displacement tied to tourism.

He will also highlight the connections to U.S. policies like funding of the Honduran police and military, the ways that OFRANEH is organizing to protect Garifuna rights, and what people in the U.S. can do to support Garifuna rights and peace in Garifuna territories. 

The free public event is sponsored by the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. ARH is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator at the south end of the building that makes it easy to reach the auditorium and accessible restrooms on the third floor. Outside entrances with automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides of ARH. Several accessible parking spaces are available along Park Street. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Models of Collaboration: Dance, Art, and Music

Professors Juliet Bellow and Julia Randel will discuss models of collaboration in dance, art, and music at 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 6, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. Each will present a 20 minute talk. Bellow will present “Working Simultaneously: Robert and Sonia Delaunay and the Ballets Russes,” and Randel will present “Pas de deux of music and dance: Balanchine’s Stravinsky ballets.”

Duo EStrella will present a concert that complements the discussion. The duo, pianists Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya, will perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored the Center for the Humanities as a part of this year's theme, "Sites of Creativity: Streets, Salons, Studios, and Schools." The concert is sponsored by the Department of Music.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Juliet Bellow

Juliet BellowsBellow is associate professor of modern European art history at American University. Her scholarly research concerns intermedial modernism, with a focus on the relationship between art and dance in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her 2013 book, Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian Avant-Garde, is a study of set and costume designs by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, and Giorgio de Chirico for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes troupe.

She has consulted for the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition "Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced with Music," and will be a resident fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University in the 2015-16 academic year.

Julia Randel

Julia RandelRandel is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She is currently researching a project on the relationships between music and choreography in George Balanchine's ballets to Igor Stravinsky's music.

Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland; the Harvard Theatre Collection; the Great Lakes College Association; and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. She has presented her work at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, Society of Dance History Scholars, Feminist Theory and Music, and Congress on Research in Dance; and at symposia of the Harvard Theatre Collection.


Churchill: The Politician as Playwright

Jonathan Rose will deliver a Scholars' Convocation on "Churchill: The Politician as Playwright" at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Although he was known chiefly as a politician and wartime leader, Churchill was also a best-selling author, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. In Rose's latest book, The Literary Churchill: Writer, Reader, Actor, he introduces readers to "a Winston Churchill we have not known before." The Washington Post's review of the book states "In this sometimes speculative but immensely enjoyable biography, Jonathan Rose shows that Churchill’s authorial and political careers were entwined and inseparable."

Rose is William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University.

He was the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, and he is coeditor of that organization’s journal, Book History.  His book The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2nd ed., 2010) won the Longman-History Today Historical Book of the Year Prize, the American Philosophical Society Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, the British Council Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the SHARP Book History Prize, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Book Prize. 

His other publications include The Edwardian Temperament, The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, and A Companion to the History of the Book (with Simon Eliot). 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.


Actor and Author Peter Coyote '64 Returns to Grinnell

Peter Coyote '64, an Emmy Award-winning narrator and accomplished actor and author, will return to Grinnell to give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. A dessert reception in the second-floor lobby of the Joe Rosenfield Center will follow. 

Coyote will reference his own life in his lecture titled "Intention: The Only Force on Earth We Can Control."

After graduating in 1964, Coyote lived in the counter-culture of the 1960s and ’70s before starting his film career at 39. He has appeared in more than 120 films, including leading roles in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and A Walk to Remember. Coyote is well-known for his voice-over work, and has done numerous documentaries and TV specials, including Ken Burns' The National Parks, The Dust Bowl, the highly acclaimed The Roosevelts, and the forthcoming Viet Nam.

In 2011, Coyote, a practicing Zen Buddhist for 40 years, was ordained as a priest and received Transmission from his teacher granting him autonomy and the right to ordain priests and establish his own lineage.  His new memoir The Rainman's Third Cure: An Irregular Education published earlier this year expands on Sleeping Where I Fall (1999), also a memoir, telling of his life and adventures during the 1960s.

As a student at Grinnell, Coyote was one of the organizers of a group of students known as the “Grinnell 14” who traveled to Washington, D.C., during the Cuban Missile Crisis, fasting and picketing for three days, protesting the resumption of nuclear testing, and supporting President Kennedy’s “peace race.”

President Kennedy invited the group into the White House (the first time protesters had ever been so recognized) and they met with the U.S. National Security Adviser McGeorge “Mac” Bundy. This meeting received national media attention and the Grinnell group photocopied the coverage and sent it to colleges across the United States, contributing to, if not precipitating, the first mass student demonstration of 25,000 in Washington in February of 1962.

Well-known for his life-long engagement in political, environmental, and social causes, Coyote received a Grinnell College Alumni Award in 2014.

Coyote's lecture is sponsored by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; the Office of Development and Alumni Relations; and the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Global Public Health

Dr. Paul Farmer, physician, humanitarian and founding director of Partners in Health, will close the College's Global Public Health Symposium.

Farmer will participate in two events:

4 p.m. Question and Answer Session

7 p.m. “Global Public Health" Presentation (followed by book signing)

Both events take place in Harris Center Auditorium and  are free and open to the public.

Farmer, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social 

Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has written extensively about health, human rights and the consequences of social inequality. He also is the subject of a best-selling book by Tracey Kidder, "Mountains beyond Mountains," which details his work in Haiti.

Farmer's presentation wraps up the symposium. He will sign several books: "Reimagining Global Public Health," "To Repair the World" and "Mountains to Mountains."

Farmer's talk is co-sponsored by the John Chrystal Endowment for Distinguished Foreign Visitors.

The Symposium

Red and white globe with red and white stethescope

The symposium was designed to inform the campus community and the general public about some of the most important issues in global public health today from different standpoints: policy, medicine, international relations, personal health, etc.

"Health is a fundamental human right, but many global issues present challenges to public health and well-being," said Sarah Purcell, professor of history and director of the Rosenfield Program. "From Ebola to obesity, the Global Public Health symposium examines some of the most pressing issues in world health today."  

Grinnell's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights is sponsoring the symposium. Co-sponsors are President Raynard S. Kington, a physician and former deputy director of the National Institutes of Health; the Grinnell Wellness program; and the Henry R. Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment.


Family Weekend Schedule of Events


Friday, Sept. 16

8 a.m.–3:50 p.m.

Class Visits

Families are invited to attend classes and visit informally with faculty members. Stop by the Family Weekend welcome and information desk in the lobby of the Joe Rosenfield Center to view the list of classes. Seating is limited, so be sure to ask for your required guest pass.

8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Campus Office Visit Drop-ins

Please feel free to make an appointment or drop in to various campus offices, including:

Women and the Regenerative Agriculture of the Future

It is difficult to know what Iowa agriculture will look like in the future, but almost certainly it will not look like today’s agriculture. It cannot. There are too many things about current farming and food production methods that increasing numbers of people are questioning and that more and more observers consider unsustainable. We need an agriculture that regenerates and restores — the land, community, and human welfare — while providing us with healthy food.

How do we attract young people into agriculture? How can young farmers gain access to land? What role can and will women farmers play in the agriculture of the future?

Denise O’Brien is uniquely positioned to address these and other questions based on her long career as a farmer and farm activist and will do so in two events on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

  • 4 p.m. Panel Discussion: Wisdom of the Elders: Mentoring Beginning Farmers
  • 7:30 p.m. Public Talk: A Long Time Farm Activist Looks to the Future

Both events will be held in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. Refreshments will be served at these free public events.

In the afternoon panel O’Brien will be joined by Susan Jutz, another long-time Iowa farmer, and two young women who are learning the ropes from them, Ash Bruxvoort and Carmen Black.

In the evening presentation O’Brien will provide a retrospective on changes in agriculture and offer her thoughts on the direction agriculture needs to move in the future.

About the Participants

Denise O'Brien

O'Brien is a farmer and community organizer from Atlantic, Iowa. She has farmed with her husband, Larry Harris, for 39 years. She maintains sixteen acres of organic fruit and vegetable production incorporating high tunnel production. O’Brien also raises turkeys and chickens for meat and egg production.

O’Brien has worked within the agricultural community on policy development at the state, national, and international levels and is involved in the community of women in agriculture, organic production, local food systems, and conservation issues.

O’Brien founded the Women Food and Agriculture Network, and has organized the Women's Task Force of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, directed the Rural Women's Leadership Development Project of PrairieFire Rural Action, Inc. and served as president of the National Family Farm Coalition. She was a Food and Society Fellow for a W.K. Kellogg-funded program 2001–03. She currently serves on the board of the Pest Action Network and the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. In 2012, O’Brien completed a year assignment with the United States Department of Agriculture as an agriculture adviser in Afghanistan.

O’Brien has received many awards including the Practical Farmers of Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Farmer's Union. O'Brien was inducted into Iowa's Women's Hall of Fame in 2000. In January, O’Brien was named one of 45 inspiring women by Country Woman Magazine.

Over the years O'Brien has written and spoken across the United States and the world on women in agriculture, organic and sustainable farming and local food systems. O'Brien has been quoted in national publications from the Nation to Ms. Magazine.

Carmen Black

Black grew up outside of Solon, Iowa, participating in 4H with many agricultural projects, but adamantly didn't want to be a farmer until moving away to attend Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. It was there while studying peace and global studies that she realized that many of the difficult issues facing her communities were directly related to industrial agriculture, and also recognized how much she loved growing food.

For the past four years, she has been a regional organizer with Real Food Challenge, a national student organization working to shift college and university dining purchasing to more just and sustainable sources. This is her first season as a full-time farmer back in Solon.

Ash Bruxvoort

Bruxvoort is a freelance writer, marketer, and beginning farmer in Mitchellville, Iowa. She blogs about marketing for small farms and nonprofits. She’s worked with many nonprofit organizations, including WFAN, the Iowa Food Coop, and The Nature Conservancy in Iowa.

Her work has appeared in Edible Omaha, Modern Farmer, Seedstock, and Precision Ag Magazine.

Susan Jutz

Jutz owns and operates ZJ Farm, an 80-acre diversified vegetable and sheep farm located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Before moving to Iowa in 1994 she earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

In 1996, she co-founded Local Harvest CSA, a three-season community-supported agriculture program. It was one of the first CSAs in Iowa and helped pave the way for this model of community-centered farming to take root and flourish in the state.

Jutz has been a principal partner and vegetable grower for the CSA, which now supplies more than 200 families with a wide variety of fresh vegetables and herbs grown using organic and sustainable practices.

Her commitment to sustainable agriculture and healthy food dates back to her childhood growing up on her family’s dairy farm near Gibbon, Minnesota. Her parents cared deeply about the land and their animals, limited their use of chemicals, and always talked about the family’s responsibility to those who came after and to the land, animals and community. In 2014, Jutz was awarded the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award by the organization Practical Farmers of Iowa.