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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Performance artist and mountaineer embody the diversity of Reed students

Portland, OR (October 6, 2003) — For Reed College graduates Arlene Blum ’66 and Portland-based Sarah Dougher ’90, the path after school has produced accomplishments as divergent as leading the first American assent of a 26,500-foot peak and writing a performance piece based on Homer’s Odyssey. Both alumnae will return to campus the weekend of November 7 and 8, 2003, in separate appearances for the Reed and general community. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, please call the events line at 503/777-7755 or visit the Reed public events site.

Harper’s Arrow
–November 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. in the Reed College chapel

Known for her role as program coordinator for Portland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls and as a punk-inspired folksinger and songwriter, Sarah Dougher will premiere Harper’s Arrow, a cycle of 24 songs, roughly corresponding to the 24 books of Homer’s Odyssey, that explore the afterlife of that work. Dougher’s songs do not retell the story, but recast elements of it into a vernacular that explores themes including home and homecoming, mythical landscape, frontier, outsider, family, gender, and war. The songs describe the ring narrative patterns of Homer’s work through the use of melody and song structure.

Since her graduation from Reed, Dougher has pursued a double career as teacher—scholar and composer—performer. Her interest in the Harper’s Arrow project began in 1997 with her doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas—Austin, in which she explored the wide range of translations and versions of the Odyssey written by women in the U.S. at the turn of the twentieth century. "The Odyssey made a renaissance," says Dougher. "The text was made accessible to new readers, the majority of whom were women and children." Dougher premiered a section of her work at the recent TBA ("Time-Based Art") festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Her upcoming performances at Reed are sponsored by the college’s Humanities 110 course and classics department.

Visiting lecturer–November 8 at 2 p.m. in Reed’s Vollum lecture hall

Author and motivational speaker Arlene Blum will share her adventures as a renowned mountaineer, author, and scientist. Blum led the first American climb of Annapurna, the world’s tenth-highest peak, and completed a 2,000-mile, nine-month trek across the Himalayan regions of Bhutan, Nepal, and India. "I was lucky to go to Reed in the ’60s," says Blum. "No one there suggested that girls weren’t supposed to do things like be mountain climbers or chemists."

Blum is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place, and an active keynote speaker. She has taught at Stanford University, Wellesley College, and the University of California—Berkeley and has received numerous awards including a Gold Medal from the Society of Women Geographers–an honor previously given to eight other women including Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, and Mary Leakey.

strong>Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915).

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