Picking Up the Flute sets to music a former professor’s musings on retirement, marriage, literature, and the natural world. From his home in historic Bristol, Vermont to Ireland’s Connemara coast, travel through John Elder’s exquisite topography and relish his explorations of nature, poetry, and geology.
John Elder’s memoir through music is permeated by his unique combination of prose and learning how to play the Irish flute. Elder revisits his time teaching at Middlebury College and explores the next phase of retirement, utilizing texts and memories from his past, whose meanings echo with a new sound now. Picking Up the Flute is an interactive, multimedia memoir that immerses the reader in Elder’s provocative prose, while offering the ability to listen to his spirited playing on his website.
John Elder, who has taught at Middlebury College since 1973 and now holds a split appointment as Stewart Professor of English and Environmental Studies, is known for his wonderful teaching and for his critical work on nature writing. He is the author most recently of Reading the Mountains of Home and has edited an encyclopedia, American Nature Writers, and (with Robert Finch) The Norton Anthology of Nature Writing. He lives with his family in Bristol, Vermont.