Cayuga CC Professor to present at national Thoreau Society conference

Cayuga Community College professor Howard Nelson will participate in panel discussion at the 2013 Thoreau Society Annual Gathering, “Mystic, Transcendentalist, and Natural Philosopher to Boot,” July 10 through the 14 in Concord, Mass.

He will speak on “The Maine Woods and the Living Lyre: David Mallett’s ‘The Fable True,’” an examination of singer-songwriter Mallett’s CD. In the recording, Mallett narrates portions of Thoreau’s The Maine Woods with guitar accompaniment.

Howard Nelson
Howard Nelson

“Mallett brings Thoreau and his experience in the wilderness to life in a wonderful way,” Nelson said. “If you want to experience Thoreau as poet, this CD, titled The Fable True, is a great way to do it. The people who attend – scholars, environmentalists, ordinary people who like something about Thoreau’s philosophy – already know that The Maine Woods is a masterpiece; I’ll try to convince them that Mallett’s CD is one, too.”

The annual gathering brings together Thoreau scholars from around the globe and fosters interest in and research on the American writer’s works and ideas to new generations.

The Thoreau Society Bulletin, a quarterly publication, featured Nelson’s essay “Intertwinings,” about how a few 19th century writers knew and interacted with each other, in its Fall 2012 issue. Nelson’s essay, “The Fable True,” a review of singer/guitarist David Mallett’s CD of selections from Thoreau’s The Maine Woods, ran in the Spring 2013 issue.

“I’ve studied Thoreau for a long time, but it’s only in the past three years that I’ve been attending the annual gathering of the Thoreau Society each summer in Concord,” Howard said. “I’ve been pleased to be chosen to make presentations at the conference, in the heart of the Thoreauvian sub-culture, and to have some of my essays published in the Thoreau Society Bulletin.”

Since joining the college faculty in 1970, Nelson has shared his passion for poetry and American authors, particularly Walt Whitman and his contemporaries, through his teachings, writings, and readings on campus and in the community. He has been awarded Chancellor’s Awards from the State University of New York for teaching, scholarship, and creative activities, and also received the SUNY Faculty Award for Excellence.

Although he retired from his full-time faculty position in 2012 after 42 years of service, he continues to teach such courses as American Literature and World Religions.