J. Drew Lanham: Poet-Conservationist

These photos don’t do justice to the warmth, heart, and wonder poet-conservationist, ornithologist and teacher J. Drew Lanham brought to his recent event at the Porter Center @brevardcollege .

He is a remarkable speaker, fully engaged, fully illuminated. I’d not expected to need a tissue for the event—maybe I should’ve!—but I found myself wiping my eyes several times. Drew sees the natural world, and sees us “ground-bound beings,” as he calls us, with a genius curiosity.

I took up way too much of his time in the book-signing line—my sincere apologies to the readers coming after me—but I couldn’t help myself. He was utterly gracious, a kindred spirit. His South Carolina accent felt like home.

Days later, I’m still thinking about thoughts and poems he shared, about what home is. “Home is someone to scratch that particular itch on your back,” he said. “Home isn’t a destination at all, it’s the mobile home carried within.” And gosh—so much more.

Thanks to Brevard College and the Transylvania County Library Foundation for continuing to bring voices like Drew’s to our community.

J. Drew Lanham’s books can be found anywhere books are sold, but shop at your favorite indie. (I recommend beginning with his memoir, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.)

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