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Joe Paddock, Poet and Environmentalist, May 10, 2014


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Poet, environmentalist, and oral historian Joe Paddock grew up in Litchfield, Minnesota, and was educated at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of the poetry collections Earth Tongues (1985) and Handful of Thunder: A Prairie Cycle (1983) and the essay collection Soil and Survival: Land Stewardship and the Future of American Agriculture (1988), which he coauthored with Nancy Paddock and Carol Bly. A former vice president of the Ernest C. Oberholtzer Foundation, Paddock wrote a biography of the wilderness preservationist, Keeper of the Wild: The Life of Ernest Oberholtzer (2001). Paddock also edited an oral history of the Olivia, Minnesota, region, The Things We Know Best (1976).

Paddock’s poems use narrative and archetype to depict internal and ecological landscapes. He won a Poet in the Community grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and has served as poet-in-residence for Minnesota Public Radio. A founding member of the Land Stewardship Project, Paddock has taught at the University of Minnesota. He lives in his childhood home in Litchfield, Minnesota, with his wife, poet Nancy Paddock.

This interview is part the oral history project Intellectual and Cultural Leaders of Minnesota.

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