The Bark River is my backyard, childhood river. And yet, in a lifetime of travel, I'd never explored it.
I knew it carved the land from the Ice Age to settlement times, from the Black Hawk War of 1832 (in which young Abraham Lincoln appears) to the era of grist mills. But the Bark also flows past impressive Indian mounds. It nurtured poets, naturalists and farmers.
When former Marquette University professor Milton Bates published his Bark River Chronicles through the Wisconsin State Historical Society, I jumped at the chance to learn about the river with him.
In the late 1990s, Beth Orton set the music world buzzing with her singular sound: part folk, part electronica. But six years ago, she found herself at a life-changing juncture: pregnant with her first child — and dropped from her record label.
His story begins a decade ago in Brooklyn, where he grew up fighting in New York's public housing before discovering another kind of power. After three felony convictions and time served at Rikers Island, Lemon Andersen didn't have many places to turn except to his words. Now he's a Tony Award winner with a rave-reviewed one-man show called County of Kings.
He spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden about his life and the new independent documentary film about it, called simply, Lemon.