Eiseley is topic of Olson Seminar by Lynch, Maher Jan. 16

Tom Lynch and Susan Maher
Tom Lynch and Susan Maher

Tom Lynch, associate professor of English at UNL, and Susan N. Maher, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth, will lead off the spring semester series of the Paul A. Olson Seminars in Great Plains Studies at UNL. They will discuss their jointly edited book, "Artifacts and Illuminations: Critical Essays on Loren Eiseley" (University of Nebraska Press, 2012).

This is the first full-length collection of critical essays on the writing of Eiseley (1907–77), a native of Lincoln who went on to become one of the 20th-century's most influential nature writers and philosophers of science. Eiseley was a professor of anthropology and a prolific writer and poet who worked to bring an understanding of science to the general public, incorporating religion, philosophy and science into his explorations of the human mind and the passage of time.

Lynch and Maher will discuss their own contributions to the volume, both of which situate Eiseley as a Great Plains writer. Maher treats Eiseley as a "deep mapper" of the plains, one who both literally and figuratively delved beneath the seemingly mundane surface to reveal a surprisingly rich and mysterious dimension beneath our feet. Lynch examines Eiseley's poetry, especially those poems located in the paleontological bone yards of western Nebraska where Eiseley worked as a young man, to show how Eiseley's artifact poems contributed to the development of the ecopoem, a new type of nature poetry.

Following is the schedule of other spring semester Olson seminars. All seminars begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St. Sponsored by the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL, they are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the center at 402-472-3082 or visit http://www.unl.edu/plains.

Feb. 20 — "Engaging Lifelong Learners in Natural History: The Land-Grant Mission of the University of Nebraska State Museum," Priscilla Grew, director of the NU State Museum and professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, UNL.

March 6 — "Welcome to the Elections from the Inside: Exit Polls and Election Projections for the Great Plains," Allan McCutcheon, Donald O. Clifton Chair of Survey Science, professor of statistics, professor of survey research and methodology, and principal investigator for the NSF/Census Research Network and the UNL-Gallup Research Center.

- Linda Ratcliffe, Center for Great Plains Studies