Join Hub City Bookshop in welcoming John Lane for his latest book Gullies of My People: An Excavation of Landscape and Family. Lane will be joined in conversation with Hub City Writers Project co-founder Betsy Teter. This will be their first event together!
While scouting sites for geology field trips, poet and naturalist John Lane encountered deep gullies created between the Civil War and the 1930s contributed to by his mother’s tenant farming family and their rural neighbors in Piedmont South Carolina. This brush with the poor farming practices of the past leads Lane into an exploration of his own family’s complicated history and of the larger environmental forces that have shaped the region where he chooses to live. With his sister as guide, Lane descends into the gully of his own childhood to uncover memories of a loving but alcoholic mother and a suicidal father.
Back and forth, the narrative progresses from depictions of the land—particularly the overgrown and neglected places that hold stories and mysteries of the region—to Lane’s ever-deepening search.He wonders how he, a college professor and husband settled into middle-class life, has emerged from the chaos of his family’s past. Along the way, we meet heroic Depression-era geologists, fascinating colleagues, and troubled ancestors. Lane’s extraordinary ability to weave personal history together with explorations of the natural world will remind readers of the works of Loren Eiseley and Terry Tempest Williams.
John Lane is Emeritus Professor of environmental studies at Wofford College and was founding director of the college’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, COYOTE SETTLES THE SOUTH was one of four finalists for the John Burroughs Medal and was named by the Burroughs Society one of the year’s “Nature Books of Uncommon Merit.”
As an environmentalist in 2013 Lane was named Upstate Forever’s “Clean Water Champion,” and “Water Conservationist of the Year” by The South Carolina Wildlife Federation. In 2014 he was inducted into the SC Academy of Authors. He, with his wife Betsy Teter, is one of the co-founders of Spartanburg’s Hub City Writers Project.