Diane Raptosh, Greg McElwain and Scott Knickerbocker - An evening of Poetry/Philosophy/Music - Boise
Join us for an evening of poetry, philosophy, and music with Treasure Valley artists Diane Raptosh, Greg McElwain, and Scott Knickerbocker.
The collection, Hand Signs from Eternity's Yurt, features 22 sonnets, each of which springs from a quotation by the British moral philosopher Mary Midgley. This book launch event is shared with Greg McElwain, who wrote a seminal book on Mary Midgley but was unable properly to celebrate its debut due to the outbreak of Covid in 2020. Local musician Scott Knickerbocker will provide musical entertainment.
In Diane Raptosh's terrific new collection, Hand Signs from Eternity's Yurt, we find sonnets of rare visionary range, lyric density, and expressive power, inspired by the writings of Mary Midgely, a philosopher so sorely overlooked, though given here a contemporary address in the meditative heart and the polis of the political imagination. Such work, born of speculative hunger, reverence, conscience, and civic unease, explores an "age of seclusion" wherein the boundaries of fixed form mirror the rooms we live in, write in, speak from, aware our privacies cannot be extricated from the world at large. While sonnets here admit a figurative kinship with exclusionary spaces, they do so if only to open their windows to the threat of such exclusions. They seek, in their scale, precision, and largesse of resonance, to intensify our attention to detail and what, therefore, we have to lose, to mourn, to praise, to honor in the complexity of the human and its margins. These are the songs, so timely in their incisiveness, that teach us "the most slowly debuted / state of risk." A phenomenal book. -Bruce Bond, author of Patmos
For over 40 years, Mary Midgley made a forceful case for the relevance and importance of philosophy. With characteristic wit and wisdom, she drew special attention to the ways in which our thought influences our everyday lives. Her wide-ranging explorations of human nature and the self; our connections with animals and the natural world; and the complexities of morality, gender, science, and religion all
contributed to her reputation as one of the most expansive and compelling moral philosophers of the twentieth century. Mary Midgley: An Introduction is the first substantive introduction to Midgley's influential philosophy on the human condition. This volume, supplemented by original interviews with Midgley, outlines the concepts and perspectives for which she is best known and illuminates the philosophical problems to which she devoted her life's work.McElwain became a friend as well as an interpreter to Midgley over the decade he spent on this project. Midgley is compulsively quotable--a crucial skill for a popular philosopher and one of the delights of McElwain's book are the many quotations he includes, not only from across her enormous oeuvre, but also from years of interviews conducted at her home outside Newcastle.
About our artists:
Diane Raptosh’s collection American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as Boise Poet Laureate (2013) and Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016). In 2018 she won the Idaho Governor’s Arts Award in Excellence. She teaches creative writing and co-directs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at the College of Idaho. Her eighth book, Hand Signs from Eternity’s Yurt, was recently published (Kelsay Books).
Greg McElwain is Professor and Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at The College of Idaho. His specialties are in environmental philosophy and the thought of the late British philosopher Mary Midgley. He is the author of Mary Midgley: An Introduction (Bloomsbury, 2020), the first substantive introduction to Midgley’s influential moral philosophy. Mary Midgley was Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University, UK. One of the leading moral philosophers of the 20th century, Midgley has written extensively on human nature, science, ethics, animals, and the environment. Her books include Wickedness (2001),
Beast and Man (2002), Heart and Mind (2003), Animals and Why They Matter (2006), Are You an Illusion? (2014), and What is Philosophy For? (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Scott Knickerbocker writes original songs and plays old-time mountain music, traditional country and blues on banjo, fiddle, and resonator guitar. His old-time string band Hokum Hi-Flyers is based in Boise, Idaho, where they put on regular square dances. Part of the living tradition of “old, weird America,” Scott sings of love and murder, sin and redemption, whiskey and whimsy. His solo album of original and traditional music is entitled “Backcountry Blues.” Scott is also Professor of English and Environmental Studies at The College of Idaho. His book Ecopoetics: The Language of Nature, the Nature of Language was published in 2012 by the University of Massachusetts Press. Scott’s solo record, Backcountry Blues, was recorded in a classy old time troubadour style. Simple recordings of Scott’s distinctive playing was recorded in the Junkerdash Audio Shed, all songs were mixed lovingly in mono and have warmth and character that harkens from times gone by.
Event is Free and open to the public. Registration required, limited seating.
Books will be available at the event and authors will be signing afterwards.