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Listening | Practice: Agriculture

  • Water Bar & Public Studio 2518 Central Avenue Northeast Minneapolis, MN, 55418 United States (map)

Listening | Practice is a series of discussions designed to bring poets, scientists, activists, linguists and social theorists to the table to share their various understandings of climate change and how it effects humanity. In this series, poet Mary Austin Speaker is gathering creative writers and thinkers across genre and practice to build greater and more complex understandings of climate change.

The second iteration of Listening | Practice will focus on agriculture, land use and water. Poet Mary Austin Speaker will be joined by writer and Water Bar Co-director Shanai Matteson, author Beth Dooley, and artist Graci Horne.

As a poet, Mary has been working on a series of Necropastoral poems for several years and considers this work a kind of documentary poetics. These poems are heavily researched and exist at the site of struggle — What have we done, and what are we going to do? How can we look to the land to understand our own history? These are some of the questions she brings to this conversation.

As a food writer and cookbook author, Beth brings forward the stories of farmers, researchers, producers, chefs, activists, and home cooks engaged in creating an alternative food system that nourishes people, wildlife, and the land. What are the benefits of keeping continuous cover on our farms, to the farmers, the environment, our rural and urban communities. How do we create a more equitable and just food system?

Both Graci Horne and Shanai Matteson bring experience as artists, writers and inhabitants of communities where agriculture is both a site of struggle over land and water rights, and site of possibility for more regenerative futures.

Things that will likely be discussed include perennial crops, wild crops, the Mississippi River, extractive capitalism, drinking water and documentary poetics. This event is free and all are welcome!


BETH DOOLEY has covered the local food scene in the Northern Heartland for thirty years: she writes for the Taste section of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, and appears regularly on KARE 11 (NBC) television and MPR Appetites with Tom Crann. She co-authored The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen with Sean Sherman, 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. Her other 12 titles include: In Winter's Kitchen: Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern Heartland, Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland with Lucia Watson. Her most current project, The Perennial Kitchen focuses on creating a climate friendly kitchen. She is an Endowed Chair, University of Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture (MISA).

HAPISTINNA GRACI HORNE, better known at Graci, was born and raised in Minnesota. Her people are Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and Hunkpapa Lakota/Dakota. Horne is a mixed media artist and specializes in watercolor painting. Her water colors often emphasize the sacredness of water. Horne’s passion projects encompass using art as a way to raise consciousness and engage viewers to preserve the earth. She has created environmental awareness and peace-themed art activities for all ages.

SHANAI MATTESON is a writer, public artist, and cultural organizer. She is co-founder and collaborative director of Water Bar & Public Studio, an artist-led social enterprise that serves water to build relationships and transform culture. Through her artistic and organizing work she seeks to illuminate the narratives and social structures that underly environmental change and resilience, with the aim of encouraging cultures of reciprocity and care. A current McKnight Foundation Artist Fellow, Shanai is pursuing research and collaborative work toward a public art project and exhibition (with Roopali Phadke and local partners in her home community of Northeastern Minnesota) which asks, among other questions: What are the relationships between extraction, ecology, economy, and the futures we can (and cannot) yet imagine?

MARY AUSTIN SPEAKER is a poet and book designer. She has published two collections of poetry— The Bridge (Shearsman 2016) and Ceremony (Slope 2012). She has taught at the Jackson Hole Writers conference, Indiana University, the University of Iowa Young Writers program, and Kirkwood Community College. Together with Chris Martin and Sam Gould, she co-edits and designs Society, a new publication project about poetry and power. She is currently Art Director for Milkweed Editions, edits a chapbook column for Rain Taxi, and is working on a third collection of poems entitled Necropastorals, which seek to reckon with the human impact on the non-human world.

Earlier Event: May 4
Homies in Harmony