The Portable Humanist
Words in the Woods with James Crews

Words in the Woods with James Crews

July 29, 2020

Poet James Crews reads and discusses his poetry at Jamaica State Park for our Words in the Woods series. A companion video includes visuals taken at the park. Here James discusses the origins of his poems, and offers several writing prompts for those inspired by his work.

James Crews’ poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic. His most recent collection of poems is titled Bluebird.

Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

Tips for Making Friends as an Adult

July 8, 2020

Ryan Kriger, author of How to Make Friends as an Adult, describes the approach he used to develop a group of friends after moving to Montpelier from New York City. He also shares advice for maintaining friendships, even during a pandemic.

Words in the Woods with Geof Hewitt

Words in the Woods with Geof Hewitt

July 1, 2020

We recently joined poet Geof Hewitt at Elmore State Park for our first “Words in the Woods” event. The series allows Vermonters and visitors to enjoy our state’s natural beauty while listening to and reading literature in the outdoors.

Geof Hewitt is Vermont’s reigning poetry slam champion, and regularly hosts slams throughout the state. He is the author of four books of poems and three books for teachers.

Due to Covid-19, we decided to record Geof solo, and offer the event as a video, and as this podcast episode.

If you’d like to watch the video – which includes a short writing workshop segment – you can find it at vermonthumanities.org/digital.

The Surprising History of Common Garden Vegetables

The Surprising History of Common Garden Vegetables

June 10, 2020

Science and history writer Rebecca Rupp discusses the stories behind many of our favorite garden vegetables, including Vermont’s own Gilfeather turnip and Early Rose potato. Find out how George Washington was nearly assassinated with a plate of poisoned peas, and what Benjamin Franklin thought of asparagus.

Audio of Rebecca’s talk is courtesy of Mt. Mansfield Community TV.

How to Boost Your Psychological Resilience in a Crisis

How to Boost Your Psychological Resilience in a Crisis

May 27, 2020
Amherst College psychology professor Catherine Sanderson examines what research in psychology tells us about how adverse events – such as a global pandemic – can lead to some positive outcomes.
 
Sanderson is the author of The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity. She has spoken several times about the science of happiness and positive thinking for our First Wednesdays series of public lectures.
Politics and Proverbs from “Mud Season”

Politics and Proverbs from “Mud Season”

May 20, 2020

We’d like to share this Mud Season episode about politics and proverbs, which features Wolfgang Mieder, a professor of German and folklore at the University of Vermont. Wolfgang is the author of several books about proverbs, including one on Vermont proverbs in particular: Talk Less and Say More.

Mud Season produced by the Center for Research on Vermont. The episodes are created by students at the University of Vermont, or by recent graduates.

 

Writing the Life of Frederick Douglass

Writing the Life of Frederick Douglass

May 6, 2020

David Blight is one of the foremost authorities on the Civil War and its legacy. In 2019, he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his biography, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.” Here he discusses Douglass’s life and explains why he calls him “The prose poet of American democracy.”

Katherine Paterson on “Bridge to Terabithia”

Katherine Paterson on “Bridge to Terabithia”

April 30, 2020

Katherine Paterson is the author of more than 30 books, including 16 novels for children and young people. She has twice won the Newbery Medal, for Bridge to Terabithia in 1978 and for Jacob Have I Loved in 1981. In 2000 she was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

In this episode, she discusses and reads from Bridge to Terabithia. Her talk was recorded at our Fall Conference in 2015. The theme of the conference was “Why Do Stories Matter?”

“We Are All Fast Food Workers Now”

“We Are All Fast Food Workers Now”

April 15, 2020

A conversation with labor historian and Dartmouth professor Annelise Orleck, the author of We Are All Fast Food Workers Now, a book that provides a close look at globalization and its costs. She interviewed berry pickers, fast food servers, garment workers, hotel housekeepers and others who are fighting for respect, safety, and a living wage.

Daybreak Express: Reuben Jackson on Duke Ellington

Daybreak Express: Reuben Jackson on Duke Ellington

March 26, 2020

Many Vermonters know Reuben Jackson as the host of Vermont Public Radio’s Friday Night Jazz. He hosted that program from 2013 until 2018. Before that, Jackson served as archivist and curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Duke Ellington Collection.

In this talk, Jackson shares some evocative Duke Ellington recordings, and discusses Ellington’s love for trains. He also describes the Ellington orchestra’s work in the segregated United States. 

This talk was recorded at the Rutland Free Library on February 5, 2020, for our First Wednesdays series of free lectures.