Wisconsin Poetry Activists | Michael McDermott

Interviewed by Lisa Vihos, November 27, 2015

Black Earth Institute has a new group of fellows every three years. We bring people to Wisconsin from all over the country. The Institute promotes people’s work, and they in turn do projects that further the goals of the Institute.

Can poetry change the world? You bet! Sure it can. Sometimes it feels like we are speaking to the choir, and sometimes we are. BEI exists at the intersection of social justice, environmental justice, and spirituality. We are a progressive think tank.

Artists speak truth, but they go beyond that to a deeper sense of things. Art embodies truth.

Michael McDermott, MD, is the co-director of Black Earth Institute, founded by McDermott and poet Patricia Monaghan. BEI is a Wisconsin-based progressive think-tank dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society. In addition to its fellows’ program, BEI publishes the journal About Place. Read a reflection by Sarah Sadie on Brigit Rest, where BEI is located, here.

Photo at Brigit Rest by Lisa Vihos.

“Wisconsin Poetry Activists” is a flash interview series by Lisa Vihos, which grew out of research that she conducted for an article in Wisconsin People & Ideas, Turning on the Lights, Spring 2016.

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