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Conversations with Authors – Sherry L. Smith with Peter Coyote (Virtual Event)
January 30, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm PST
Sherry L. Smith’s Bohemians West is a revelatory biography of a radical romance at the dawn of the twentieth century.
The opening years of the twentieth century saw a grand cast of radicals and reformers fighting for a new America, seeking change not only in labor picket lines and at women’s suffrage rallies but also in homes and bedrooms. In the thick of this heady milieu were Sara Bard Field and Charles Erskine Scott Wood, two aspiring poets and political activists whose love story uncovers a potent emotional world underneath this transformative time.
Self-declared pioneers in free love, Sara and Erskine exchanged hundreds of letters that chartered a new kind of romantic relationship, and their personal affair frequently intersected with their deeply engaged political lives. As Sara’s star rose in the suffrage movement (including an automobile trip she took across the country in 1915 carrying a petition with thousands of signatures demanding Congress pass the Nineteenth Amendment), she began to ask questions about her own power in her relationship with Erskine. Charting a passionate and tumultuous relationship that spanned decades, Bohemians West offers a deeply personal look at a dynamic period in American history.
Sherry L. Smith is University Distinguished Professor of History (Emerita) at Southern Methodist University. A historian of the American West and Native America, Smith’s other books include Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power and Reimagining Indians: Native Americans through Anglo Eyes, 1880–1940, both published by Oxford University Press. She is a former president of the Western History Association and received the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellowship at the Huntington Library, which supported research for Bohemians West. Smith has also been honored with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and Yale University’s Beinecke Library. She lives in Moose, Wyoming, and Pasadena, California.
Peter Coyote is the author of the 1960’s counter-culture memoir Sleeping Where I Fall, which received universally excellent reviews and has been in continuous print since 1999. His second book about mentors and the search for wisdom, The Rainman’s Third Cure: An Irregular Education, was nominated as one of the top five non-fiction books published in California in 2015. His third book, Unmasking Your True Self (the Lone Ranger and Tonto Meet the Buddha) combines 50 years of Buddhist practice with acting and uses masks and improv exercises to foster liberation experiences and teach people “how to get out of their own way.” It is forthcoming from Inner Traditions Press, as his first book of poems, The Tongue of a Crow. He has performed as an actor in over 160 films for theaters and TV. He is a double Emmy-Award winning narrator of over 150 documentary films. An ordained Zen Buddhist priest and transmitted teacher, Peter is currently giving live weekly dharma talks on Facebook, preparing for a fourth book called Vernacular Buddhism.