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Chaskey Talks Cultivation and Kinship

Wed, 02/21/2024 - 13:27
Scott Chaskey
Karen Wise

You might want to get an early ticket to the Scott Chaskey talk at Guild Hall Saturday, because one seat has already been reserved for his beard. 

The tete-a-tete has to do with the eminent farmer and poet's 2023 book, "Soil and Spirit," from Milkweed Editions, a collection of essays on, in the words of its subtitle, "Cultivation and Kinship in the Web of Life." 

His interlocutor? One Evan Harris, an East Hampton writer who back in June noted in these pages the book's "rich, variegated prose" and "ties to the worlds of literature, scholarship, science, activism," calling it more than a memoir, "it is poetry, it is nature and environment. It is travelogue, even, in the recounting of adventures in China, Cornwall, and New Mexico." A book, in other words, that "would be comfortable on shelves meant for birds, words, seeds, trees." 

That pretty much says it all. Ms. Harris even took issue with the common characterization (see above) of the book as "a volume of essays. No, it seems that the chapters are not being asked to stand alone, but are meant to group in progressive conversation with one another."

Mr. Chaskey — formerly the big cheese at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, permanently big in the realm of community-supported agriculture — lives in Sag Harbor with his wife, also a poet, Megan Chaskey. 

Ms. Harris's fiction has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and other journals. "The Quit," her 1996 book of humor, "investigates, deconstructs, and celebrates the unsung art of giving up," according to the publisher, Fireside Books.

Tickets are $15, or $12 for Guild Hall members. The start time is 3 p.m. 

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