Back in 2019, when Richard Powers was a guest on Between the Covers for The Overstory, we also appeared together that very same night, in conversation again. This time, an onstage ticketed event at Revolution Hall before a live audience. I’ve wanted to share this second conversation ever since. Not only because I prepared two distinctly different interviews, but also because this was Powers’ first visit to Oregon for The Overstory, a book not merely set in the Pacific Northwest but one that deeply engages with the longstanding history of forest defense in the region on behalf of the last remaining stands of old growth forest. Because Powers hadn’t been to Portland for his hardback or paperback tours and had since won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this very book, and because of the deep connection the Portland community has to the stories within this novel, the atmosphere was electric at this sold-out event, overflowing with anticipation, excitement, and joy. I’m so happy to be able to now share this with you and want to thank Richard Powers, W. W. Norton, and Powell’s Books, the host of the event, for making that possible. And whether or not you’ve heard the podcast conversation that aired with Powers in 2019, it is a great complement to today’s episode. Two conversations on the same day, one with just Richard and me, the other celebrating the book in community, quite different in tone and content and yet interwoven and speaking to each other.
For the bonus audio archive, Richard contributes a reading of an incredibly moving W. S. Merwin poem about trees, which joins Jorie Graham reading poems by others about rain, Kaveh Akbar reading about worms, Forrest Gander reading poems about lichen, and much more. The bonus audio is only one possible benefit of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter. You can find out about them all at the show’s Patreon page. Lastly, here is today’s very tree-centric Bookshop.