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Award-winning author Michael Pollan to give Centennial Lecture

Author Michael Pollan
August 15, 2013

Michael Pollan, author of the best-sellers, "Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals" and "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation," will give the 2013 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University.

The lecture, titled "Out of the Garden and Onto the Plate: A Writer's Education," is a signature event commemorating Barrett’s 25th anniversary. The talk is set for 8 p.m., Tuesday, October 8, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, AZ.

In this autobiographical talk, Pollan tells the story of the path his writing and thinking has taken since he first planted a vegetable garden under the (disastrous) influence of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The folly that ensued convinced him that all the great books about man and nature he had read in school haven't prepared him – or our culture – for the practical work of acting in nature. Art is a tool for living, and most American art about nature has done a brilliant job of celebrating – and helping us preserve – the wilderness; however, it is largely silent, and all but useless, about the ordinary places where most of us live and work.

Along the way, Pollan discovered that literature of the garden and farm might offer a useful antidote to the wilderness tradition, and that an exploration on the messy places where nature and culture mix it up – including agriculture – might help guide our culture through the challenges we face today; especially around eating and the environment. The talk includes brief readings from several of Pollan's books.

Admission is free and open to the public, however reservations are requested. For more information and to register, visit