Wisconsin People & Ideas – Fall 2023 | wisconsinacademy.org
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Wisconsin People & Ideas – Fall 2023

In this issue: In our fall issue, dig into a profile of Appleton geologist Marcia Bjornerud, who teaches her students to hear how the Earth is speaking to them. Learn about the living history of Wisconsin’s tallest trees, as well as the people who record their legacies; join mushroom aficionados across the state as they forage for fall fungi; and discover a driving tour in Sauk County that melds art and agriculture. Also included are a preview of the James Watrous Gallery’s two upcoming exhibitions; the winning fiction piece and three top-ranking poems from the Wisconsin Academy’s 2023 Fiction and Poetry Contests; and reviews of four Wisconsin books. 

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Often when we go through transitions, we discover that with the new reality comes a reinforcement of our core principles or values. As fall has arrived, my focus has been on change—in my personal life and at the Academy.

There’s nothing quite like holding a magazine in your hands.

Chanterelle mushrooms on a table outdoors

Jessica Ross, a conservation biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, knew nothing about mushroom foraging before moving to Wisconsin. But trekking through forests in search of fungi was already in her DNA.

R. Bruce Allison, left, and B. Wolfgang Hoffmann pose in front of the massive trunk of a tree in 1979. Allison and Hoffmann collaborated as author and photographer, respectively, on the book Wisconsin’s Champion Trees.

This is a story about Wisconsin’s Champion Trees Program, its rich history and encouraging revival. But first, some wisdom from a great ecologist and conservationist.

Art and agriculture aren’t usually thought of together. Typically, they’re seen as separate as the urban and rural environments with which they’re often associated. But art and agriculture each produce fruit that sustains and enriches community...

Marcia Bjornerud resting on a bed of quartzite near Baraboo.

Imagine you’re nineteen years old again. It’s a crisp fall afternoon, and you’re looking out the window of a cramped college fleet van. You’re watching the mini malls of Wisconsin’s Fox Valley evaporate into farm fields.

Mary Burns’ weavings celebrate and honor water and the women who work with it and advocate for it.

A portrait painter and multidisciplinary artist, Madeline Grace Martin honors the lives of community members and family in her work.

Francisco Guerrero and Nate Zurawski of WIPPS

Wisconsin’s status as a politically divided state often puts us in the national spotlight.

When I started this final exam reflection/exit essay (which I wonder if you’re even reading) I dialed up the Brahms Alto Rhapsody you played early this semester which you said was so beautiful it made some suicidal writer change his mind, so I...

My friendship with Jayson Iwen precludes me from reviewing Roze & Blud, his poetry collection. However, I can introduce him to readers and in this way attract attention to his work.

With rich characters at its heart, Elise Gregory’s debut novel The Clayfields entwines readers into its community and sings an ode to contemporary rural life.

After the death of his mother, the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes recorded a note that eventually became his book, Mourning Diary.

Abraham Smith’s latest book, Dear Weirdo, consists of a vibrant 81-page long poem throughout which the reader experiences both Smith’s unique writerly voice and a chorus of countless voices across space and time.

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