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Laurie Allmann

WATCH: Anticipating Rhythm, a video celebrating rhythm and pattern in nature by Laurie Allmann, spring 2013 Bell Museum Artist-in-Resident.

This video has been accepted as one of seven videos to be featured at a conference of the American Musicological Society in Pittsburgh in November 2013, as part of the project directed by Mark Pedelty, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at the U of M and Institute on the Environment, UMN Fellow.


Environmental writer and poet Laurie Allmann, penned the following work, inspired by the Bell Museum's famous diorama collection. Allmann is a Spring 2013 Bell Museum Artist in Residence.



Listen to Laurie Allmann reading Diorama

The moose calf swings its head
around to front
and steps with its mother
into the evening forest,
the bull moose
pulling that last hoof free of
gripping mud to follow them,
his antlers crashing through the
trees as water slowly
seeps into his tracks
At last, those dangling legs
of sandhill cranes
touch down on prairie soil,
only to lift again, to bound and call,
cupping the air between their wings
like life itself, the sound waves from
their fluted shaker-rattle calls spreading
across the flatlands of the ancient lakebed
all through the day and even in the night,
while pasque flowers hold their petals closed
and still more cranes
pass by above

The squall, it comes in fast across
Superior, a rolling wall that overtakes
the wolves atop the
palisades of rhyolite,
small gusts of wind lifting their fur
before the sleety rain begins to fall in
sheets that glaze late winter snow and
wash new scent from
billion year-old rock;
the deer below slips from the birches
to the refuge of a cedar grove,
the wolves—two males, a female—
move off of the ridge,
curl up to wait it out,
tails wrapped over their noses
to warm the air they breathe

Do you see?  The fledgling wood duck
leaping from its cavity high in the basswood tree
and sailing helter-skelter to the forest floor
sending its siblings rolling like a
poolroom break; the large-mouthed
bass finally taking that hapless frog;
the grebe chick’s ruby bindi like
some crazy mood ring growing
alternately bright and dim;
and in the peatlands
antlers softly falling
from caribou into the moss

For even here, where geese move
freely in and out of Jaques skies
between their real and brushstroke
lives, where we could wait forever
with this mated pair of
passenger pigeons at their nest
to hear a tapping sound
and see a hairline crack,
a blood-streaked beak
poke through the shell of this
one white egg on its
thatch of sticks;
even here—especially here—
it’s all about what happens next.

L. Allmann April 2013
Bell Museum of Natural History


Resident Artist Research Project