in residence at Volland
June 3 – 10
MARY PINARD, Poet, returns to the Flint Hills for a residency at Volland in 2019
“Last summer I focused on writing a sequence of experimental poems on aspects of the history (natural and cultural), ecology, and role of disturbance (climate, fire, grazing, settlement, agriculture) in the Flint Hills. I had in mind as a kind of model Virgil’s The Georgics. Written between 37 and 30 B.C.E, Virgil’s long poem of lyrical description and subtle excavation celebrates the land in four books (each focusing on a separate but intertwined aspect: field crops, trees, animals, and bees) and is often cited as the root for all pastoral/nature/environmental poetry that has followed (the term georgic, from the Latin, georgicus, “agriculture,” derives from the Greek word for earth, gê). Not only is it a description of a varied landscape, but also of a way of life with allusions to the significance of hard work, the vulnerability of all creatures, the influence and impact of war and its troubled politics (Virgil completed this poem just as the civil war between Octavian and Antony ended), and the possibility that the artistic labor that Virgil brought to the crafting of his masterful poem mirrors the significance of techniques for cultivation of land and of culture. Given the scope of Virgil’s poem, though, I soon realized as my summer writing was wrapping up that my poetic sequence would benefit from more depth and breadth. With this in mind, I hope this summer to expand my poem into four parts, each taking up a different US prairie: since I’ve completed the section about the Konza, I’ll be focusing while I’m here on the Coastal Prairie of southern Louisiana, the South Puget Sound Prairies in Washington State, and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois. And I’m imagining that this long sequence will be the centerpiece of my next collection, which I hope to have drafted sometime late in the fall.” – Mary Pinard
Over the last 15 years, Ms. Pinard has collaborated with several visual artists and musicians with poetry that focuses on, explores, and/or addresses art in some way.
In 2019, Mary will share a co-residency with artist Zhang Hongtu, who is visiting the tallgrass prairie for the birthing season of the bison. Their mutual connection to the prairie informs their poetry and their paintings, and they will share observations and comments at 4 pm on June 8 at The Volland Store in the presence of the current art exhibit, “Law of the Saddle (II),” paintings by Linda Blackburn.
Mary teaches poetry and literature at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. She earned a B.A. in English and Theatre from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN), an M.A. in English from University of Chicago, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Vermont College. She was born and raised in Seattle.
Professor Pinard’s poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals—including The Iowa Review, Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Georgia Review—with new work appearing recently in Crab Orchard Review. She has been the recipient of several national awards for her poetry, and Portal, her first collection of poems, was published in 2014 by Salmon Press (Ireland). Her essays on poetics and poets, including Alice Oswald and Lorine Niedecker, have been published in critical anthologies and scholarly journals.
More information about her poetry, public readings, and publications can be found at www.marypinard.com.