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Ed Koren Steps into the Vermont Wild with New Collection

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By Larry Floersch

Judging from the size of the crowd for his book-signing event at Bear Pond Books last month, many residents of the Montpelier area already know that Ed Koren has just released a new collection of cartoons: Koren. In the Wild.

The book focuses on the rural culture of Vermont and often points out, in a humorous way, how that culture is under threat. It is a threat that Koren knows too well, living in the tiny village of Brookfield as it struggles for existence just slightly more than a stone’s throw from the rush of modernity in the northbound lanes of Interstate 89.

Koren, of course, is well known because his work often appears in The New Yorker magazine, where he has published more than 1,100 cartoons over his career. Although born in New York, Koren is a Vermonter by nature and has resided here for about four decades.

Great cartoonists are like great poets, able to take something observed or overheard and extract from it some universal truth. That ability earned Koren the mantle of Vermont’s second Cartoonist Laureate.

The Bridge recently spoke by phone with Koren and asked him if he could point to three cartoons in the collection that exemplify the predicament facing Vermont: how to protect our rural way of life while at the same time allowing it to change in a good way.

The Bridge thanks Ed Koren and Margot Zalkind Mayor of Button Street Press in Newfane, Vermont, for permission to reprint the cartoons. Koren. In the Wild is available at bookstores everywhere.

For more information on the author and artist, visit edwardkoren.com and buttonstreetpress.com.

Koren says this image was almost “prescient” because it was drawn over four decades ago yet encapsulates Vermont’s ongoing dilemma—the encroachment of the “suburbs.”

This image speaks to how our villages and towns are threatened and must adjust and update themselves to maintain relevance to both their residents and the outside world.

This image depicts the old way of life losing to the outside world as young folks leave the state for education and jobs.

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