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Author Event: Melissa Kwasny @ This House of Books

Melissa Kwasny will present her book with a reading and discussion followed by a signing of her book, Putting on the Dog, on Friday, May 3, 2019, starting at 5:30 pm. 

What should we wear? Asking from an environmental standpoint, what should we wear? Cotton? Silk? Wool? Leather? Fur? Synthetics? Each one of these materials represents an engagement with the natural world, but to a great extent, we have lost our connection with the sources of our clothing. Surprising to those of us who haven't considered the question, every option is associated with problems and controversy.

Leather and fur have been targets of focused campaigns to get people to avoid them. After all, we have to kill animals to get these materials. Maybe plant-based fibers are better? The problem is, growing the most popular plant fiber—cotton—drinks rivers dry and destroys the fertility of the soil. As one writer said, "Being 'good' isn't as easy as it might first seem."

To write Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear, Melissa traveled the world to find answers. Her answers help us bridge the growing rift between human consciousness and consumption with the interdependence and sustenance that the natural world offers us. In a world where it is impossible to be ethically pure, Melissa shows the better choices are not obvious. She offers penetrating research and thoughtful answers to this surprisingly difficult question.

Winner of several awards for her poetry, including the Montana Art Council's 2010 Artist's Innovation Award, Melissa also is the author of Pictograph: Poems, published in 2015 and other acclaimed poetry collections. She lives outside of Jefferson City, Montana, in the Elkhorn Mountains.