Clarke Lecture Series Presents ‘Never the Same River Twice: A Year on the Mississippi’

posted on February 28, 2007

Katherine Fischer Photo

This year’s Clarke College Mackin-Mailander Lecture Series will conclude with an alumni lecture presented by Katherine Fischer, a 1973 Clarke graduate. Fischer, who is chair and associate professor of language and literature at Clarke, will present “Never the Same River Twice: A Year on the Mississippi” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke campus. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Fischer will offer reflections upon living on the floodplain of one of the greatest rivers in the world, which leads her to believe, “Only when we fail to tame nature do we succeed.” The Mississippi River’s annual spring rise flows through her house.  She correlates these floods to the Louisiana Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina.  As teacher and environmental activist, she questions human intervention – and interference – with this once wild and cantankerous natural life force. In the wildness of nature, she finds inspiration as a writer and offers a sneak preview of her new manuscript, a novel about high water and mayhem.  She will deliver a message of hope that humankind can work to restore that which has been destroyed.
Fischer is currently promoting her new book, “Dreaming the Mississippi,” which offers a fresh perspective on the river’s environment, industry, and recreation. She challenges old stereotypes through the experiences of modern Americans who work the barges, rope-swing into muddy bottoms, struggle against hurricane floodwaters, and find new meaning on this great watery corridor.

Fischer describes how the river’s natural and human histories overlap and interweave as she tells of her own gradual immersion in its life—which led her to buy a house so close to its banks that each spring she must open her basement doors to accept its inevitable floods. Fischer blends stories of people living along the river with accounts of national and global consequence.

The Mackin-Mailander Lecture Series was established in the spring of 1997 after Clarke received gifts from two alums, Mary Mackin ’34 and Verna Slattery-Mailander ’20, to establish an endowed lecture series. The annual series consists of three lectures, including a prominent outside speaker, a faculty lecture and an alum lecture.

For more information, contact the Clarke College Public Relations Office at (563)588-6318.


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