In the Middle of the Middle West

In the Middle of the Middle West

Literary Nonfiction from the Heartland
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/06/2003
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21657-1
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The 42 essays in this collection take their inspiration from the Midwest—not just from its physical terrain but from its emotional terrain as well. They come from writers of diverse backgrounds: poets, novelists, filmmakers, and journalists; some who came and stayed, some who came and left, and some who were born and raised in this place. The essays revolve generally around issues of conflict between place and identity, and the theme of diversity—be it religious, sexual, racial, artistic, cultural, occupational, or geographical—runs throughout. Writers featured in this collection include Maxine Chernoff, Stuart Dybek, Michael Martone, Cris Mazza, James McManus, Scott Russell Sanders, Mary Swander, and many others of national reputation.

Author Bio

Becky Bradway is the author of Pink Houses and Family Taverns (IUP, 2002). Her essays have appeared in DoubleTake; E: The Environmental Journal; North American Review; Troika; and elsewhere. She lives in Normal, Illinois.


“"The 42 nonfiction pieces about America's heartland found in this collection offer different perspectives, as their contributors include not only novelists and poets but also journalists, filmmakers, and many others who have either been raised in the Midwest or have lived there at one point in their lives . . . As a native Midwesterner, this reviewer was most interested in the sense of wonder from those who come from right or left coasts and view this large midsection of our country with fresh eyes. Recommended. . . ."—Library Journal ”

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Introduction, by Becky Bradway

Stuart Dybek. Midwest.
Mary Swander. That Glorious Time of Old.
James McManus. Your What Hurts?
Benjamin Alvey. Fag.
Jaimy Gordon. Little Man in the Woods.

Janet Wondra. Mid.
Scott Russell Sanders. Big Trees, Still Water, Tall Grass.
Becky Bradway. What It Is and Used to Be
Reginald Shepherd. A Walking Tour of the Chicago Lakefront, With Detours.
Sonia Gernes. Back Home in Indiana.
Sheryl St. Germain. What You Can See Mid-Winter in the Midwest; Walking the Prairie Rail Trail, Thinking About Loss

Bonnie Jo Campbell. A Train Runs Through It.
S.L. Wisenberg. Connections.
Rosanne Nordstrom. A Chicago Story.
Sharon Solwitz. Abra Cadabra.

California, Midwest
Maxine Chernoff. Michael Jordan's Lips.
Erin McGraw. Not From Here.
Cris Mazza. Displaced.
Robert Grindy. Desperately Seeking Blue Mound.

Anne Calcagno. Still on Cortland Street.
Jon Anderson. The Pluses and Minuses of Life in the Midwest.
Doug Hesse. My Father in White, Above the Royal Blue.
Richard Holinger. A Hard Saw.
Richard Newman. Boilermen.
Jenna M. Polk. Bits of Glass.

Martha Modena Vertreace-Doody. In Hyde Park: Momentary Stay Against Confusion.
Keith Ratzlaff. The Poet as John Nachtigal.
David Radavich. Midwestern Dramas.
Dan Guillory. Being Midwestern.
Robert Hellenga. Rural Writers.

Curtis White. excerpt from America's Magic Mountain
Martha Miller. No Queens on Pickett Street.
Mary Troy. How Does it Feel?
John McCluskey, Jr. J.W.
Philip Graham. The Baby Shower.

Sharon Darrow. Remembering Canute.
Mary Helen Stefaniak. Positively 4th Street.
Paulette Roeske. The Basement.
Ricardo Cortez Cruz and Rodney B. Cruz. Welcome to the Land of Freedom.
Michael Martone. A Menagerie of Mascots.
Maura Stanton. The Basement