Ken Kesey's biographer to speak April 23

Press release

The McKenzie River Trust invites the public to "Ken Kesey's Living Rivers," a lecture by Kesey's biographer Robert Faggen. Faggen will discuss Kesey's work as a conservationist and promoter of public discourse, offering a unique perspective on the iconic northwest storyteller's work and world-view. The talk is the third in a series of four Neighborhood Conversations hosted by the McKenzie River Trust throughout April.

Faggen will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 23 in the Hult Center Studio. The Studio is adjacent to the Jacobs Gallery, located at One Eugene Center in Eugene. The presentation is free and open to the public."Ken Kesey's writings had a large hand in defining the working landscapes of western Oregon," notes McKenzie River Trust Executive Director Joe Moll. "What may be less appreciated is the extent to which Kesey spurred civic discussions about conservation and community choices. His legacy was a great inspiration for this Neighborhood Conversation series."

In a 2006 article in the Claremont McKenna College News, Faggen describes the common threads in his scholarship, including his writing on Ken Kesey. "[Many of the authors I write about] are extraordinarily independent and eccentric characters," says Faggen. "For them, literature is a way of grasping, dramatizing, and probing some fundamental questions about faith and justice." In his April 23rd talk, Faggen will examine how these underlying motivations and interests impacted Kesey's fiction. In particular, Faggen will explore the role of rivers in Kesey's work.

Robert Faggen is the Director of the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. Faggen is completing a biography of Ken Kesey (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). He has authored numerous books and articles including Robert Frost and The Challenge of Darwin, The Cambridge Companion to Robert Frost, The Notebooks of Robert Frost and Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milsoz. His writing on Frost was described by the Harvard University Press as "a major new addition to the canon of Robert Frost's writings." He contributes regularly to The Los Angeles Times Book Review and to The Paris Review, for which he conducted the interview with Ken Kesey. Faggen recevied his B.A. from Princeton and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard.

The Living River series of events continues with a final Neighborhood Conversation on April 28. The Living River Juried Art Exhibit continues in the Jacobs Gallery at the Hult Center through May 1. All events are free and open to the public.

Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature: Wednesday, April 28 at 7pm in the Hult Center Studio

Kathleen Dean Moore, essayist, OSU Environmental Philosopher, and director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, will read from her new book and speak about the healing powers of rivers and nature.

The Living River Juried Art Exhibit: April 2 through May 1 in the Jacobs Gallery

More than 80 original artworks in a variety of media by 60 regional artists responding to the questions "What makes a river alive? And how does a river bring life to a community?"

About the McKenzie River Trust
The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust. MRT was formed in 1989 for the protection of critical habitat and scenic lands in the McKenzie basin. The Trust expanded its service area in 2000 to include the Siuslaw, Long Tom, Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, and Umpqua watersheds. Over its 20 year history, the Trust has worked with landowners and diverse partnerships to protect, forever, over 2,250 acres of special lands in Lane and Douglas Counties. The Trust was awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in March, 2010. The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation. It recognizes organizations for meeting national standards for excellence, upholding the public trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent. For more information about the McKenzie River Trust go to or call 541-345-2799.

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