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Exploring Place: Karen Babine & James Silas Rogers

Join us for a collaboritve reading from two outstanding local essayists whose work explores the various meanings and iterations of place.

Karen Babine will read from her brand new collection, Water and What We Know: Following the Roots of a Northern Life. Written in the language of the northern landscape of experience, the essays travel from the wildness of Lake Superior to the order of an apple orchard. Throughout, Babine excavates ways to understand the essence of inhabiting a place deeply rooted in personal stories. She takes us from moments of reflection, through the pages of her Minnesota family’s history, to the drama of the land and the shaping of the earth. How, she asks, does land determine what kind of people grow in that soil? And through it all runs water, carrying a birch bark canoe with a bullet hole and a bloodstain, roaring over the Edmund Fitzgerald, flooding the Red River Valley, carving the glaciated land along with historical memory. As she searches out the stories that water has written upon human consciousness, Babine reveals again and again what their poignancy tells us about our place and what it means to be here.

James Silas Rogers will read from his collection Northern Orchards: Notes from Places Near the Dead. In this thought-provoking compliation of essays and poems, Silas explores memory, the meaning of place, and sacred space. With Jim's words as your guide, you'll journey to the past and visit over 100 northern Minnesota lost towns, learn about how they grew and prospered, why they died, and what remains of them today. Written in a personal narrative style, Northern Orchards is filled with then and now photos and amusing anecdotes. The book is a fun read for historians, tourists, genealogists, and anyone who loves a good story.