Back to All Events

Reading the Water: A Lake Superior Literary Sampler

  • Madeline Island Museum 226 Colonel Woods Avenue La Pointe, WI, 54850 (map)

Reading the Water: A Lake Superior Literary Sampler

June 26th, Wednesday
Madeline Island Museum

Free and Open to the Public

Dr. Alan Brew, Executive Director, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute
& Professor of English, Northland College

Red Canoe on misty northern lake.png

For many, the northern regions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Ontario are defined by water: creeks, rivers and lakes. Professor Brew will introduce a number of authors who have written about the Lake Superior watershed and share some favorite passages from their essays, stories and poems, encouraging participants to begin their own journey of literary exploration on the waters of Lake Superior.


Alan Brew
PhD, MA, University of North Carolina
BA, Gustavus Adolphus College

Background: Growing up, I lived in a small, Midwestern town near Oiyuwege, a well-established Dakota Indian crossing of the Minnesota River. My winter days were filled with sledding, skiing, and lots of reading. My summers with fishing, biking, and excursions to the north woods and the mountains of the west.

As an undergraduate at Gustavus Adolphus College, I traveled to the Southwest to study geology, to the lake country of northern Minnesota to study winter ecology by dogsled, and to Exeter, England, to study Shakespeare and the British romantic poets. When I graduated, I was still searching for a vocation that would allow me to combine my passions for literature and the natural world. This search led me to the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, where I worked for a summer as an interpretive ranger at Harriman State Park, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I earned a doctoral degree in American literature, and, finally, to Northland College, where I am able to teach courses that reflect my special interest in exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Regularly, these courses take me to the canyons of the Southwest, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and the lakes of the Boundary Waters. As a teacher and student of literature, I am committed to the preservation and exploration of stories, and I strive to connect individuals with narratives that comfort, challenge, guide, and, ultimately, place them in the rich complexities of the human experience.
— Alan Brew, PhD

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund.