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Coming Home

Last year, after almost 30 years of living in Wisconsin, I realized it was time to come home. I now reside in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, with the Blue Ridge Mountains floating along the skyline like a backdrop to a movie. As interim editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas for the last few months, I’ve frequently been reminded of why I was drawn to Wisconsin all those years ago. Travel anywhere in the state—urban or rural, north or south, Driftless or Great Lakes regions—and you experience such a diversity and richness in geography and culture. It sounds a bit corny to say it was, in fact, the “people” and the “ideas” that sustained me, not only in my career but in making a life there for myself and my family. Almost as compelling were “lakes” and “cheese.” I do miss them all, which is why it is such a delight to share some highlights of what we’ve put together for you in this month’s issue.

Our cover profile chronicles the rich journalistic life of Milwaukee TV producer Everett Marshburn. He was recently inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 2024 Gold Circle, the first person in the state to receive this distinguished service honor. My dear friend and colleague John Motoviloff writes this issue’s “Wisconsin Table,” part memoir, part treatise on state efforts to bring game hunting to a wider audience. Similar themes of inclusion are abundant in Dexter Patterson’s essay on the joy of birding. The author also urges us to get out and enjoy spring bird migration hotspots around the state. Sarah White’s fascinating piece on artists who create their own pottery pigments and glazes will leave you with an unexpected appreciation for this unique aspect of ceramics.

The Academy is proud to feature another impressive group of 2023 fiction and poetry contest winners in this month’s issue. Susanna Daniel’s “Goddess of Illicit Choices” won 2nd place in fiction, while Emily Bowles, Adam Fell, Steven Espada Dawson, Marnie Bullock Dresser, and Kelly R. Samuels received honorable mentions in poetry.

Because this is a double issue, the content I mention here is just a sampling of a robust and satisfying collection of essays, profiles, book reviews, and more. Also featured is our usual primer on the upcoming artists exhibiting at the James Watrous Gallery in Madison’s Overture Center.

In addition to what I learned from the people and ideas featured in this magazine, I gained some insight into myself. That instinctive tug to return home recently was the same one that brought me to Wisconsin. If home is where the heart is, then Virginia holds my heart. Wisconsin, however, will always hold my soul. I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed being reminded of the many things that are so very special about Wisconsin.


Brennan Nardi is the Interim Editor for Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine. She is a former editor of Madison Magazine and a former communications director for the Madison Community Foundation.

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Phone: 608.733.6633


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3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
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Phone: 608.733.6633 x25