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"Penokees Read" to gather personal stories of Penokees
The Penokee Hills is ground zero in the mining bill debate, but for many people, it’s much more than that. Alyssa Palmer has the story.
This is like the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration project that’ll let people tell their stories. This will be about living in the Penokees.
On March 14, writers of Iron, Ashland, and Bayfield counties will have their voices heard. “Penokees Read” is an event that encourages people to express the Penokee Hills through poems, and fiction and non-fiction short stories.
Little Big Bay Publishing owner Ros Nelson says as long as it relates to the Penokee Hills, it’s fair game.
“The topic can evoke almost anything. I mean you can be in a jet plane flying over South America and be thinking about the Penokees and write about that experience. You don’t have to write about walking in the woods; you don’t have to be an expert on the Penokees.”
Nelson hopes to keep this historical event separate from the political hot topic of mining.
“I think a real simple mission is just to allow people to have a voice regarding the Penokees. It’s a hot issue, people are talking about it, writing about it; the passions are running high. So we would like to give people the chance to express themselves.”
Retired teacher Maureen Matusewic from Hurley says the “Penokee Reads” could be therapeutic in a time of great controversy.
“Then I heard about the Penokee Reads and I thought, you know what, I’d love to tell my story about how I love the Penokees and just write the story without having to get into the politics. Just be part of people who really love the land, and love the water. And just get away from thinking about the mines for at least the next piece of writing.”
Growing up in Montreal with her mining father and grandfather, Matusewic shares her love for the Penokees in an excerpt from her story.
“Throughout all the years I have vacationed and visited the Penokees and Lake Superior regularly. And at this moment, the hardest time of my life, I felt the magnetic power of those hills and the beauty of the Lake drawing me home. I wrote this poem about it: ‘She calls to me. Come, daughter. Swim in my waters and wash away the sins and the sadness of the past. Standing behind her, the iron ore beating in his veins, he draws me to him. Come daughter. Walk in my forest and rest in my strength. Listen to the love song of my water singing to your mother.”
Penokees Read will be at StageNorth in Washburn March 14.
Wisconsin Public Radio is a partner in the “Penokees Read” program with Northland College station WRNC and the Ashland Daily Press. WRNC will broadcast the StageNorth event live starting at 7:30 p.m March 14. Wisconsin Public Radio will air it the following Monday at 7 p.m. on KUWS (91.3FM) and WUWS (90.9FM).Previous KUWS Articles:
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