The Write Connection Recordings

The Write Connection at Thoreau Farm is a program in partnership with the Thoreau Society. Through writing workshops and author talks we support writers who expand on Thoreau’s extraordinary insights into life, nature, and social responsibility or find in Thoreau inspiration for living deliberately, practicing simplicity, and exploring new ideas for positive change. Help us continue to offer these programs by donating today!

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“A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington: Senator George P. McLean, Birdman of the Senate”—Author Talk

A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington: Senator George P. McLean,Birdman of the Senate is the story of how Connecticut’s George P. McLean helped establish lasting legal protections for birds, overseeing passage of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, landmark environmental protection legislation that is still in effect today.

In this program, Will McLean Greeley, McLean’s great-great nephew, puts McLean’s victory for birds in the context of his distinguished forty-five-year career marked by many acts of reform during a time of widespread corruption and political instability.

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Thinking Disobediently: Lawrence Buell in Conversation with Rebecca Kneale Gould

Henry David Thoreau was a leading figure in the American Transcendentalist movement, an intellectual with worldwide influence as an essayist, social thinker, naturalist-environmentalist, and sage. Two of his most famous works, Walden, and “Civil Disobedience,” are foundational to American literature, philosophy, and political activism. However, he is also a controversial figure. Scholars have regularly offered conflicting assessments of the significance of his work, the evolution of his thought, and even the facts of his life. In his new book, HENRY DAVID THOREAU: Thinking Disobediently, esteemed Thoreau scholar Lawrence Buell details the complexities and contradictions of Thoreau’s life and work, providing necessary context to understanding a key American writer. This program was recorded on October 19, 2023.

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Foraging With Jeeves & Other Offbeat Mycological Excursions: A Book Launch with Lawrence Millman

This book defies any known genre, just as fungi often tend to defy our attempts to identify them. Think science (the Salem witchcraft fungus) followed by satire (a fungal Faust) followed by an account of what sort of fungi one might find in Antarctica. An element of humor pervades the book’s pages, as indicated by a remark one of its characters, the butler Jeeves, makes to his master: “Wit and mycology go together, sir.”

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Wild By Design: Author Laura Martin in Conversation with Michelle Nijhuis

In Wild by Design, restoration’s past provides vital knowledge for climate change policy. But Martin also offers something more―a meditation on what it means to be wild and a call for ecological restoration that is socially just. Laura J. Martin was joined in conversation by Michelle Nijhuis. This program was recorded on October 5, 2023. 

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Thoreau’s Axe: A Conversation with Author Caleb Smith

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden (1854), offering a warning about technology and distraction that resonates in our own time. In conversation with Daegan Miller, Caleb Smith will discuss his new book Thoreau’s Axe: Distraction and Discipline in American Culture, exploring how nineteenth-century Americans understood the problem of distraction, as well as the ways they tried to rehabilitate their powers of attention. This program was recorded on Thursday, September 7, 2023.


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Church of the Wild: A Conversation with Victoria Loorz

Church of the Wild places Thoreau’s intimacy with nature into a community of spiritual practice. With a fresh look at a beloved community larger than our own species, this book uncovers the wild roots of faith to undergird our commitment to a groaning and glorious earth. Simple practices of sacred reconnection with the land, waters and creatures of our home places invites us to care for the world by falling in love with it. It is an invitation to trust the knowing deep within us that we are an important part of an interconnected relationship with All That Is.
Victoria is joined in conversation by Richard Higgins. This program was recorded on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

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People & the Planet: Authors Yxta Murray & Daniel Selmi Discuss Their New Books

Consider the role of humans in creating and combating climate change and environmental disaster. Yzta Murray’s God Went Like That is a novel that explores the costs of governmental malfeasance and environmental racism. Daniel Selmi’s Dawn at Mineral King Valley: The Sierra Club, the Disney Company, and the Rise of Environmental Law is a history of a legal showdown that launched a new environmental era in America. Yxta and Daniel discuss their books and the lessons they can provide. Program recorded April 20, 2023.

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Beloved Beasts: Author Michelle Nijhuis in conversation with Daegan Miller

In the late nineteenth century, as humans came to realize that our rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving other animal species to extinction, a movement to protect and conserve them was born. In Beloved Beasts, acclaimed science writer and editor Michelle Nijhuis traces the movement’s history: from early battles to save charismatic species to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale. Program recorded March 16, 2023.

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Conversations With Birds: Author Priyanka Kumar in conversation with Scott Russell Sanders

“Birds are my almanac. They tune me into the seasons, and into myself.”

So begins Conversations With Birds, a lively collection of essays by acclaimed filmmaker and novelist Priyanka Kumar. At a time when climate change, habitat loss, and the reckless use of pesticides are causing widespread extinction of species, Priyanka’s reflections on these messengers from our distant past and harbingers of our future offer luminous evidence of her suggestion that “seeds of transformation lie dormant in all of our hearts. Sometimes it just takes the right bird to awaken us.” Priyanka is  joined in conversation by Scott Russell Sanders. Program recorded February 7, 2023.

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Sounds Wild and Broken: An Author Talk with David George Haskell

We live on a planet alive with song, music, and speech. David Haskell explores how these wonders came to be. In rain forests shimmering with insect sound and swamps pulsing with frog calls we learn about evolution’s creative powers. From birds in the Rocky Mountains and on the streets of Paris, we discover how animals learn their songs and adapt to new environments. Below the waves, we hear our kinship to beings as different as snapping shrimp, toadfish, and whales. In the startlingly divergent sonic vibes of the animals of different continents, we experience the legacies of plate tectonics, the deep history of animal groups and their movements around the world, and the quirks of aesthetic evolution.Starting with the origins of animal song and traversing the whole arc of Earth history, Haskell illuminates and celebrates the emergence of the varied sounds of our world.

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The Insect Crisis: Author Oliver Milman in Conversation with Michelle Nijhuis

In The Insect Crisis, acclaimed journalist Oliver Milman dives into the torrent of recent evidence that suggests this kaleidoscopic group of creatures is suffering the greatest existential crisis in its remarkable 400-million-year history. What is causing the collapse of the insect world?With urgency and great clarity, Milman explores this hidden emergency, arguing that its consequences could even rival climate change. Milman is joined in conversation by Michelle Nijhuis. Program recorded November 2, 2022.

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Thinking Like the Sun: Stellar Knowledge of the Woods, Weeds, Swamp, and Infinity of You

An Author Talk from Dr. Barbara Mossberg

Reading from her work as an example of inspiration from Thoreau’s writing in “thinking like the sun,” Mossberg shares Thoreau’s influence on the book,the challenge as a California laureate, city’s poet in residence, to make of any place a “Walden” in her vision and writings. Program recorded September 10, 2022.

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Climate Lyricism: Author Min Hyoung Song in Conversation with Rochelle L. Johnson

In Climate Lyricism, Min Hyoung Song articulates a climate change-centered reading practice that foregrounds how climate is present in most literature. Song shows how literature, poetry, and essays by Tommy Pico, Solmaz Sharif, Frank O’Hara, Ilya Kaminsky, Claudia Rankine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Richard Powers, and others, and others help us to better grapple with our everyday encounters with climate change and its disastrous effects, which are inextricably linked to the legacies of racism, colonialism, and extraction. In this discussion of his book, Song is joined by Rochelle L. Johnson, President of the Thoreau Society and Chair of Environmental Studies at the College of Idaho. Program recorded September 8, 2022.

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Buy Climate Lyricism from Duke University Press.


Writing Memoir: Tom Montgomery Fate and The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home ventures from Fate’s small-town upbringing to vastly different cultures around the globe, and Fate comes to define “home” not as a physical location, but as a way of belonging. “Migrating birds have an internal compass that allows them to home their way back to their nesting place each spring,” he writes. “For birds, home is both verb and noun—both journey and destination.” Tom Montgomery Fate discusses his writing process and forthcoming memoir, The Long Way Home, in conversation with Sandy Stott. Program recorded May 10, 2022. 

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Buy The Long Way Home from Ice Cube Press


What a Writer Can Learn from Henry David Thoreau

Although Henry Thoreau never devoted an essay to advising fellow and future writers of best practices, he did talk about the act and the process of writing, from time to time. What can aspiring authors learn from his words, his texts, and from his own life examples? Corinne H. Smith will explore Thoreau’s approach to the art, including his techniques of observation, editing, reader engagement, perseverance, and commitment to the craft. Program recorded May 3, 2022.

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When Things Go Horribly Wrong: A Conversation with Sy Montgomery

To research books, films and articles, Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana. In this talk Sy discusses her writing process and her long and adventurous career with Michael Frederick, Executive Director of Thoreau Society. Program recorded Sunday, April 24, 2022.

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André Gregory (“My Dinner with André”) in conversation with Michael Frederick

This is Not My Memoir is the life story of the iconic director, writer, actor, and co-creator of My Dinner With André. Taking the form of a wondrous fever dream, this autobiography-of-sorts presents fantastic and fantastical recollections from the director who changed theater forever with his Manhattan Project, who once drove a fire truck onto the stage in the middle of an opening night, and who has been willingly buried alive. In this talk he discusses his life and work with Mike Frederick, Executive Director of the Thoreau Society.

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What Nature Knows: A Conversation with Poet Chrissa Ventrelle and Artist Hillary Waters Fayle

Braiding the wild, the spiritual, and the human into poems and meditations, Chrissa Ventrelle focuses on the soothing wisdom of nature and the gift of togetherness in her second collection, What Nature Knows: Poems & Meditations. She is joined by artist Hillary Waters Fayle who provided the artwork for the volume. The two share a conversation about how nature inspires their work, their creative processes, and discuss Thoreau’s influence on their words and illustrations. Program recorded Saturday, March 19, 2022.

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The Transcendentalists and Their World – Author Robert Gross in conversation with Jayne Gordon

book cover for The Transcendentalists and Their Worldshowing image of a bunch of grapesThe Transcendentalists and Their World explores the social transformation of Concord through the lens of the Thoreau household and extended family, along with other figures with whom Henry Thoreau was familiar. Author Bob Gross was joined by Jayne Gordon on location at Thoreau Farm, the Birthplace of Henry David Thoreau, to discuss his new book. Program recorded Sunday, December 5, 2021.

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Author Talk with Author/Coach Brad Stulberg on The Practice of Groundedness

Brad Stulberg is an internationally known researcher, writer, and coach on human performance, well-being, and sustainable success, and bestselling author of The Practice of GroundednessPeak Performance and The Passion Paradox. In this talk Brad shares how he translates concepts to the page in order that we may cultivate a “resolute sense of self” to enable “deep and enduring” success in life. Program recorded Thursday, December 2, 2021.

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Short, Sweet, & Sacred: A Panel Discussion on Living the Life You’veImagined

Featuring four of the contributors to “Short, Sweet & Sacred,” a collection of 52 essays from life coaches who overcame and moved from stuck-to-success. Our panel included the editor of “Short, Sweet & Sacred,” Erin Davenport, a certified life mastery coach and author; Aurelie Cormier, a clinical oncology nurse and a clinical nurse specialist for Women’s Health; Golivia Patil, (bottom right) co-founder of the platform, Kernel to Popcorn; and Theresa Garvin, (bottom left) clinical social worker, therapist, and owner and CEO of The Life You Imagine. Program recorded October 2, 2021.

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Playwright Tammy Rose performs her latest play, “The Women of Concord in the Time of Thoreau.”

Tammy is the founder and administrator of the Facebook Group, Transcendentalists 2021, host of the You Tube Series, “Concord Days,” and host of the podcast, “Walden the book & Concord the Town.” This play was performed during Thoreau Farm’s virtual birthday party and picnic for Henry’s 204th birthday! Sponsored by The Write Connection at Thoreau Farm, in partnership with The Thoreau Society.

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John Hanson Mitchell discusses his latest book, “Legends of the Common Stream.”

Join us for a conversation with John Hanson Mitchell, author of “Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile,” “Walking Towards Walden: A Pilgrimage in Search of Place,” and “A Field Guide to Your Own Backyard: A Seasonal Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the Eastern U.S.,” among others. He is also the founding editor of Massachusetts Audubon’s award-winning journal Sanctuary. Mitchell discusses his latest book, Legends of the Common Stream, with Thoreau Farm’s executive director, Margaret Carroll-Bergman. Mitchell was the keynote speaker for The Write Connection’s first year of programming in 2019.

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A Conversation with Holly Jackson and Megan Marshall

Megan Marshall  interviews her friend and colleague Holly Jackson about her new book, “American Radicals: How 19th Century Protest Shaped the Nation.” We’ll learn more about how the 19th century social justice movement is still influencing our national dialogue on systemic racism, women’s rights, and poverty. Thoreau, Alcott, Emerson, Fuller, Hawthorne, and many other social reformers found in Jackson’s new book, will be touched upon during the talk.

Holly Jackson is an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston and associate editor of The New England Quarterly. She writes and speaks on 19th-century American cultural history. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, as well as a number of scholarly publications. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Megan Marshall is the president of the Society of American Historians and author of “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life,” winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Biography and Memoir, and “The Peabody Sisters,” winner of the Francis Parkman Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.  Both books were winners of the Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction.  She is the first Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor at Emerson College, where she teaches nonfiction writing and archival research in the MFA creative writing program.  She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.

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The Great Tide of Humanity: Race and Gender Reform in 19th Century Concord, Massachusetts.

A panel discussion featuring Richard Smith, Nikki Turpin, Beth van Duzer, Tammy Rose, and Margaret Carroll-Bergman. Henry David Thoreau and his fellow Transcendentalists sparked a literary revolution, 60 years after the American Revolution in the tiny town of Concord. Armed with the ideas of social reform, the Transcendentalists of Concord, the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society, Thoreau women, and early Civil Rights Activist Ellen Garrison addressed the reform issues of the day — slavery, the aftermath of slavery, and women’s rights. The panelists discuss how these 19th century thinkers and activists continue to guide us in addressing these issues today.

This Write Connection Program was presented by the Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program at the Central Oregon Community College Foundation. Sponsored by Marjorie Meret, M. ED., Maybell Clark MacDonald Fund, and the Associated Students of COCC. Watch and share this panel discussion on Youtube.


 Stark Mad Abolitionists: Concord and The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

Join Concord historian Richard Smith as he tells the story of Concord and the Fugitive Slave Law. The well known Concordians are part of the story, but some of their lesser known friends and neighbors, male and female, black and white, also took part in the resistance!  Great for high school, college classes.

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A conversation with filmmaker Ivy Meeropol about her latest film, “Bully. Coward. Victim.: The Story of Roy Cohn.”

Ivy is the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and was joined by her father Michael Meeropol in this interview with Margaret Carroll-Bergman, executive director of Thoreau Farm. Students interested in social justice and how antisemitism and fear of communism created a climate to send a civilian couple to the electric chair.

Ivy Meeropol is a writer and filmmaker. Her latest film, “Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn,” examines Cohn’s relationship with Donald Trump and his influence on the execution of her grandparents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

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A Conversation with Eric Weiner

N.Y. Times bestselling author Eric Weiner talks about his latest book, “The Socrates Express,” with Thoreau Society executive director Michael Frederick.

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A Conversation with Lawrence Millman

Arctic Explorer and writer Lawrence Millman, author of “Goodbye, Ice,” talks about poetry, climate change and the Arctic. Co-Sponsored by the Concord Festival of Authors.

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Henry Thoreau’s and Al Gore’s Climate Reality

Part of Climate Reality’s 24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future at Thoreau Farm.