A Virtual Lyceum: The Art of Perception


Thursday, October 21, 2021    
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Event Type

Brought to you by: The WWP, The Dial, and The Concord Festival of Authors 

About the event: Perception connects us with our immediate environment, and yet perception is anything but immediate. We learn to perceive, and what we ordinarily perceive is conditioned by what we have learned to pay attention to. Our powers of perception must be cultivated.  During this Lyceum, joined by scholars and artists in various mediums, we will discuss the connection between perception, the natural world, art, and society. Henry David Thoreau’s writing is filled with sense observations and perceptions of the natural world and philosophical perceptions of society. How can the natural world awaken our powers of observation? How can our social lives? Art forms? Why is close observation of all important? 


Caroline Randall Williams is a multi-genre writer, educator, performance artist in Nashville Tennessee, where she is a Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. She is co-author of the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook Soul Food Love. Her debut collection of poetry, Lucy Negro, Redux has been turned into a ballet by the Nashville Ballet — Caroline performed her poetry as an integral member of the cast, all set to an original score by multiple time grammy nominee Rhiannon Giddens. Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People changing the South,” the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts ReviewCherryBombe, Garden and GunEssence and the New York Times. Most recently, she was ranked by The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2020. 


Jeffrey S. Cramer is The WWP Curator of Collections and resident Thoreau scholar.  Jeff’s works include I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, The Portable Thoreau, Solid Seasons; The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others. He is a winner of a National Outdoor Book Award and a co-winner of the Boston Authors Club’s Julia Ward Howe Special Award. 



Justin AtwellDr. Justin Atwell currently works as an Instructor in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado-Boulder where he teaches various courses including Writing on Science & Society and Technical Communication & Design. He holds a Master of Arts in Literature from Iowa State University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture from North Dakota State University. Because of these and other work and life experiences, his research interests are varied, including the rhetoric of science and medicine; working class rhetorics; and, whenever possible, hip-hop music. This last interest, combined with a longstanding love of Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy, led Dr. Atwell, early on in his academic career, to write his Master’s Thesis, “The Transcendentalist Hip-Hop Movement,” which explores various philosophical legacies of the 19th-century Transcendentalists through 20th and 21st-century hip-hop music. 


Garrett Allen (moderator) is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles. He was a philosophy and Greek instructor at the University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree. He writes a weekly newsletter of short essays called Footnotes. He is primarily interested in everyday philosophy; in this vein he draws inspiration from ancient Greek philosophy, American transcendentalists and American pragmatists.



Join us via zoom Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:00-8:15pm EST.






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