Arts & Culture
Clay Jenkinson Book Talk and Signing
Join us as renowned North Dakota author Clay Jenkinson discusses his new book, “The Language of the Cottonwoods: Essays on the Future of North Dakota.” Make sure to stick around to get your own copy signed!
In this book, Clay discusses a wide range of topics that are uniquely North Dakotan: from the question of where the real geographical center of North America is truly located, to the lack of environmental and economic sustainability the Bakken oil boom has brought us, to the relations our state’s white people have created with North Dakotan Native American people and what ought to be done differently, both now and for the future.
Additional information about The Language of the Cottonwoods from Clay himself:
“My goal and dream is that North Dakota adopt the book as a kind of North Dakota Reads selection. I wrote it to try to generate a statewide and regional discussion about who we are, what we value, how we think about ourselves, and where we are headed as a people tucked up along the Canadian border in a raw ecosystem that is an acquired taste. I believe the taste is worth acquiring, but North Dakota is not for the faint of heart. At the same time, my larger goal is to see the book become the center of a wider conversation about the crisis of rural America, which I define as not a brain but a creativity drain, an increasing Red State anger and aggressiveness, economic decline, and demographic slow-motion collapse. My greatest fear is that our Redness will redden, and our most creative, progressive, and enterprising young people will find their happiness and careers elsewhere, and the “rump” that is left will become more white supremacist. In fact, I expect xenophobes and America Firsters will gravitate here in spite of the bad climate so they can live more or less exclusively with other white conservatives.
Ultimately, I argue that until we fall in love with North Dakota and the Northern Plains in a new and more authentic way, we cannot expect to graduate from being an extraction colony for out of state interests. It is essential that we put down our mediating devices and get out into the wild countryside.”