Mary Swander’s “Vang” with Talkback

Event details

  • Friday | April 19, 2019
  • 7:30 pm
  • Art + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago St, Madison, WI 53704

Recent immigrants from Asia, Africa, Mexico and Europe are taking up farming in Iowa! Mary Swander, poet and dramatist brings these dramas to life in her play Vang. The Black Earth Institute and Art and Literature Lab presents her play Vang on Sat

“Come join the Black Earth Institute as we welcome Iowa Poet Mary Swander to Wisconsin! Mary is bringing her play Vang to Art + Literature Laboratory on Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 pm. Following the performance, Mary will lead a talkback. This event is part of BEI’s Dane County Performance Series.

A Hmong family who fled Communist bullets and wild tigers through the jungle of Laos and across the Mekong River to the refugee camp in Thailand. A Sudanese man who was thrown into prison in Ethiopia for helping the Lost Boys and was left gasping for air through a crack under the door. A Mexican woman who taught herself English by looking up the meaning of the profane words that were hurled at her at her first job in a meat packing plant. A Dutch boy, dressed as a cowboy, who put the flag of the Netherlands through the paper shredder and declared, “I am an American.” These are some of the characters brought to life in Vang, a drama about recent immigrant farmers.

Mary Swander is the Poet Laureate of Iowa, the Artistic Director of Swander Woman Productions, and the Executive Director of AgArts, a non-profit designed to imagine and promote healthy food systems through the arts. She was one of the original Black Earth Institute Fellows and is a BEI board member.

The Dane County Performance Series is supported by the Wisconsin Humanities Council. This project is also supported by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Plesant T. Rowland Foundation.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is a leading statewide resource for librarians, teachers, museum educators, and civic leaders, who drive entertaining and informative programs using history, culture and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone. The Wisconsin Council also awards more than $175,000 a year over seven rounds of grants to local organizations piloting humanities programming. For more information on Wisconsin Humanities Council, visit or connect on Facebook at or Twitter at @WiHumanities”