When a massive wildfire blazed across California in June 2008, five monks risked their lives to save Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Pyne-- wildfire expert and the country’s pre-eminent fire historian-- and Busch-- author and longtime Zen student-- discuss the ways of wildfires in the West and what it means to meet a crisis with full presence of mind.
Program one of four, co-presented with the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
Colleen Morton Busch’s nonfiction, poetry, and fiction have appeared in a wide range of publications, from literary magazines to the San Francisco Chronicle and Yoga Journal, where she was a senior editor. Busch has been a Zen student since 2000. She is the author of Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire at the Gates of Tassajara.
Stephen Pyne is a professor at Arizona State University and the author of over 20 books mostly dealing with the history, ecology, and management of fire and include big-screen histories for America, Australia, Canada, Europe, and Earth overall. Others deal with the history of exploration, notably How the Canyon Became Grand, The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica, and most recently Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery. Both interests, fire and exploration, grew out of 15 seasons he worked the North Rim Longshots, a fire crew at Grand Canyon National Park. He is currently researching a fire history of the U.S. over the past 50 years. He teaches a graduate course on nonfiction writing, which became the basis for his book Voice and Vision.
William Deverell is a professor of history at USC, where he specializes in the history of California and the American West and directs a scholarly institute that collaborates with the Huntington Library in San Marino. He is the author of Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past and Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910. With Greg Hise, he is co-author of Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholomew Plan for the Los Angeles Region. He is past chair of the California Council for the Humanities and a recent Fellow of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation of Los Angeles. He is also a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for Humanities at USC.
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