On Sept. 29, Mark Busby will return to the Waxahachie Chautauqua and at the same time return to his Ellis County roots.
On this visit home, the Ennis native and literature professor at Texas State University-San Marcos will have a new book under his belt, “John Graves, Writer,” a candid and humorous discussion of the author John Graves, Texas’ most famous nature writer.
Written with Terrell Dixon, the publishing of this book this year by University of Texas Press coincides with the 50th anniversary of John Graves’ trip down the Brazos that inspired him to write “Goodbye to a River,” his most successful book. Busby’s book gives an overview of the life and work of John Graves, called the “unofficial dean of Texas letters.” The book also scrutinizes Graves’ stature within Texas letters and also in American environmental writing. It aims to understand the 86 year-old Graves and his motivations, style and philosophy and how they relate to his major works.
Mark Busby will bring John Graves’ perspective on the Texas wind in his program at the Waxahachie Chautauqua, “Texas Wind: A Poetic Force.” He will also bring books to sign.
Busby will also highlight several other Texas writers in his Chautauqua program, including:
Waxahachie native, Jan Seale, with her poem, “Chant for Those Who Would Sleep.” Seale was born in Pilot Point, Texas, graduated from Waxahachie High School, attended Baylor University and received a bachelor’s of arts degree from the University of Louisville and a master’s of arts degree from North Texas State University. She is now a writer and teacher, living in the southern tip of Texas, just across the Rio Grande from Mexico. She is the author of a book of short stories, “Airlift;” a textbook, “The Nuts-and-Bolts Guide to Writing Your Life Story;” a book of essays, “Homeland;” nine children’s books; and six volumes of poetry, the latest, “The Wonder Is: New and Selected Poems 1974-2004.” Pre-eminent West Texas poet, Walter McDonald, especially from his collection of poems, “Whatever the Wind Delivers: Celebrating West Texas and the Near Southwest.” Dorothy Scarborough’s 1928 novel, “The Wind,” about a West Texas woman who is driven crazy by the incessant wind. It was made into a silent film.
Busby will be assisted by Waxahachie Community Theatre members, who will help present the poetry and prose and give their own voices to writings about the wind.
Busby is director of the Southwest Regional Humanities Center and the Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University-San Marcos, where he also serves as professor of English. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1977, and his bachelor’s of arts and master’s of arts degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has taught at Texas A&M University, Indiana University-Purdue University, the U.S. Army Adjutant General School and the University of Colorado.
Besides his recent book on John Graves, Busby is author or editor of “From Texas to the World and Back: Essays on the Journeys of Katherine Anne Porter” (2001); the novel, “Fort Benning Blues” (2001); “Larry McMurtry and the West: An Ambivalent Relationship” (1995); “New Growth/2: Short Stories of Contemporary Texas” (1993); “Ralph Ellison” (1991); and “The Frontier Experience and the American Dream” (1989).