Ray is a writer, naturalist and activist who has written five books of literary nonfiction. She describes The Seed Underground as “a voyage to the country of seed-saving. It is driven by stories, from individuals and groups who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America, a battle to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food.”
In an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ray describes the growing genetic manipulation of the world’s seed stock as a threat to our food stock: “Chemical companies… Ray warns, are on the brink of a hostile takeover of the global seed market, which, in turn, determines what kinds of food we eat, how they’re grown and whether they begin from a healthy seed or one genetically modified and stacked with insecticides, herbicides and bacterium.”
Though often portrayed as a southern writer, Ray has Montana roots: she earned her MFA from the University of Montana, and has spent the last semester teaching in Missoula. She’s also an accomplished poet whose most recent collection, House of Branches, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Award for Poetry in 2011.
Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Gathering the Desert, writes of The Seed Underground: “What a dream of a book—my favorite poet writing about my favorite topic (seeds)… If books can move you to love, this one does.” Publisher’s Weekly calls it an “enchanting narrative,” and Kirkus praises it as “skillfully combin(ing) discussions on plant genetics and the metaphorical potential of seeds.”
Ray’s reading is free and open to the public. It will take place at 7 p.m. in Elk River Books’ new store, 120 N. Main St. (formerly Chatham Fine Art), and will be followed by a signing and reception.