This coming fall, while I am in England, I will be teaching my Literature and Environment class in an online format. In order to liven up the online class, and take advantage of the digital format, I plan to include a variety of audio-visual materials, including conversations with some of the authors I’ll be teaching.
Because I believe it’s important to teach literature of the local bioregion in classes such as this, one of the books I’ll be using is John Price’s new anthology The Tallgrass Prairie Reader. I was really pleased when this book was published last year, and have already used it, to good effect, in my class last fall. This morning (July 29) John and I spent some time at Glacier Creek Prairie Preserve, near Omaha, discussing his book and the prairie.
A good rainstorm passed through the area earlier in the morning, and the weather was warm and very humid. But this time of the year the prairie was really beginning to bloom, and we saw a lot of wildflowers as well as a wide range of pollinators like butterflies, bees, and beetles. The dickcissels were singing throughout the prairie, making a nice soundtrack.
This was the first time I was using my new, rather inexpensive digital video camera (a Samsung HMX-F90), and I joked with John that he was my guinea pig as I learned how to use it. It actually worked quite well, except that since it was a moderately breezy day, the wind noise on the mic was a bit annoying. (I’ve since made a make-shift windscreen that I hope will solve the problem in the future.)
Here’s one minimally edited clip of John reading an excerpt from his anthology, a piece by Louise Erdrich
And here are a few still photos of some of the prairie flora and fauna we encountered on our stroll.