AnnieFMy connection with the Black Earth Institute has supported, peacefully and inexorably, my innermost growth as writer and person. At once like-minded and diverse, the community has provided me with the creative stimulation of contact with new ideas, models, and disciplines while affirming deeply the Institute’s core confluence of art, nature, spirituality, and social justice. The reading and discussion have been of high caliber and the fellowship unparalleled. BEI has strengthened my resolve, enhanced my work, and heightened my joy in life. I can’t imagine life without it. – Annie Finch


Seamus CashmanMembership of the Black Earth Institute has offered me a rich drought of inspiration to imbibe these past three years, each time new discoveries – cranes, effigy mounds – new understandings of art, and later, new writing. My perspectives on earth, spirit, and social justice have deepened; my sense of arts community opened up; my own poetry writing intensified. I have found that the serious presence of writer-poets-and scholar-colleagues illumined each day’s debate and work, offering ongoing avenues for contemplation, for focus, for thought and for creativity in the space between gatherings and beyond. Friendships grew, and network channels flowed on to other are spaces. – Seamus Cashman


Richard_CambridgeBlack Earth Institute has been for me a spiritual and intellectual home. The “tenemos” comes to mind, from the Greek: an area set aside from everyday use, a place to contemplate, commune together. From our spirit-filled conversations and the created works we bear forth from here, we return to a world in need of healing, mending, wholeness. – Richard Cambridge



Jones croppedBlack Earth has given me resources for greater throughtfulness about a range of issues, but also allowed me to connect to a broad range of humans who are on the right side of justice. Without these conversations, readings, resources I might not have been able to meet the many challenges in my life with as much grace or gratitude. Black Earth says to me that scholars, artists, scientists can and do take on the large and small ideas that bedevil our dreams and foster discord. Here is where wolves, songs, trees, political discourses, artistic choices, philosophy, and shared history in community, in spirit for this earth. – Patricia Spears-Jones


judith-roche-2In the past six years being a BEI Fellow has been a major part of my life. The inspiration of our meetings has added such richness to my life. I have made lifelong friends here. Each gathering, I’ve come away nourished and inspired to continue the work, as we do in our various forms, in whatever form it takes. It has influenced my own writing and the projects I take on considerably. I have always written about land and animals, but do so more now – and with more spirit of communal generosity then ever before. I’ve always felt that, but now there is more form and room for it. BEI has both pushed me to do more and inspired me. – Judith Roche