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Imagining Home

Writing from the Midwest

2000

Mark Vinz and Thom Tammaro, editors

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Well-known authors reflect on their Midwestern heritage-now in paperback!

Sixteen nationally acclaimed authors reflect on how their Midwestern heritage has shaped their attitudes, values, and development as writers. Contributors include Martha Bergland, Carol Bly, Jack Driscoll, David Allan Evans, Paul Gruchow, Patricia Hampl, Linda Hasselstrom, Jon Hassler, David Haynes, Bill Holm, Michael Martone, Kent Meyers, Kathleen Norris, Robert Schuler, Mary Swander, and Larry Watson.

Vinz and Tammaro’s collection rewards us with familiar pictures of midwestern experience, and, like a good midwesterner, also quietly insists on its depths, complexities, and diversity.

The Annals of Iowa

American literature has always been connected to region and place—the New England of Robert Frost, the West of John Steinbeck, and the South of William Faulkner. In this volume, sixteen nationally acclaimed authors reflect on how their Midwestern heritage has shaped their attitudes, values, and development as writers.

Imagining Home centers on the premise that a sense of place is far more than a matter of geographical landscape, comprising instead a complex web of associations, human communities, history, spirituality, and memory. In untangling and reweaving these various strands, the authors consider that while the Upper Midwestern terrain is quite diverse, there is nonetheless a kind of cohesiveness—a lack of large urban centers, a low density of population—that makes the area almost invisible to itself. These essays offer a chance to look at the way landscape plays a key role in the formation of imagination as well as to come to terms with the paradox of love and disdain for one’s home place.

Contributors: Martha Bergland (Wisconsin), Carol Bly (Minnesota), Jack Driscoll (Michigan), David Allan Evans (South Dakota), Paul Gruchow (Minnesota), Patricia Hampl (Minnesota), Linda Hasselstrom (South Dakota), Jon Hassler (Minnesota), David Haynes (Missouri), Bill Holm (Minnesota), Michael Martone (Iowa), Kent Meyers (South Dakota), Kathleen Norris (South Dakota), Robert Schuler (Wisconsin), Mary Swander (Iowa), and Larry Watson (North Dakota).

Awards

Minnesota Book Award winner

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Mark Vinz is professor of English at Moorhead State University. Thom Tammaro is professor of multidisciplinary studies at Moorhead State University. Together, they edited Inheriting the Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest (Minnesota, 1993), winner of a 1993 Minnesota Book Award.

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Vinz and Tammaro’s collection rewards us with familiar pictures of midwestern experience, and, like a good midwesterner, also quietly insists on its depths, complexities, and diversity.

The Annals of Iowa

I’m not simply struck by the lucid insights and imaginative power of these authors and the others in this collection. I’m impressed by the variety of the perspectives, by how much wiser a community can be than any individual self. Imagining Home consists of essays selected by Mark Vinz and Thom Tammaro, professors at Moorhead State University and distinguished writers themselves. Under the general subheadings of ‘Discovering a Home’, ‘Recovering the Past’ and ‘The Changing Present,’ the editors introduce newer and well-known voices, providing for the reader a series of rich, random encounters. Excellent. A collection of voices that can’t be rated: They’re a choir, with each voice adding its own resonance, its own distinctive chime, and helping to create a book that is gift to our community.

Susan Welch, St. Paul Pioneer Press

A fascinating anthology.

Ballast Quarterly Review

Sixteen nationally acclaimed authors reflect on how the Midwest landscape influenced their writing and thinking in Imagining Home a new collection edited by professors Mark Vinz and Thom Tammaro. It features some of the region’s best-known authors, including Jon Hassler, Patricia Hampl, Carol Bly, Bill Holm and Paul Gruchow. This book is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of well-written essays from diverse voices that lend insight to our sense of home.

Fargo Forum

The Upper Midwest of this book stretches from Hasselstrom’s South Dakota range—which appears to have much more in common with Texas and Montana than, say, Hampl’s middle-class St. Paul—to David Haynes’s suburban St. Louis County, Mo., which sounds distinctly Southern, what with its emphasis on race and family.

Minneapolis StarTribune

But the editors have selected many of the most compelling contemporary voices speaking from and for the Midwest.

Choice

Anthologies are a fine way to discover new authors, or at least authors new to a reader, and this book is no exception. Sixteen midwestern writers offer their own ways of looking at this region and how it has influenced their work. In a sense, all the essays in Imagining Home are about community—both natural and human.

Bloomsbury Review

Whether you are interested in the Midwest or the universe, Imagining Home is worth reading. And worth owning, too.

South Dakota History