Interior Places / Edition 1

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Overview


“We must include Knopp among those whom Barry Lopez calls our ‘local geniuses of the American landscape,’” Fran Shaw remarks in the journal Parabola. And, indeed, in this new book, Lisa Knopp’s singular genius burrows deep into that landscape in showing us what it is to know, feel, and inhabit unique yet quintessentially American places.
 
A collection of essays embracing nonfiction from memoir and biography to travel writing and natural history, Interior Places offers a curiously detailed group photograph of the Midwest’s interior landscape. Here is an essay about the origin, history, and influence of corn. Here we find an exploration of a childhood meeting with Frederick Leopold, youngest brother of the great naturalist Aldo. Here also are a chronicle of the 146-year alliance between Burlington, Iowa, and the Burlington Route (later the CB&O, the BN, and finally, the BNSF) and a pilgrimage to Amelia Earhart’s Kansas hometown. Whether writing about the lives of two of P. T. Barnum’s giants or the “secret” nuclear weapons plant in southeastern Iowa, about hunger in Lincoln, Nebraska, or bird banding on the Platte River, Knopp captures the inner character of the Midwest as Nature dictates it, people live it, and history reveals it.
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Editorial Reviews

Omaha World-Herald

Interior Places is a great sample of local nature writing, making it ideal for academic study or for those who want to start reading creative nonfiction.

—Ryan Borchers, Omaha World-Herald

Kansas History

"In these engagingly written pieces Knopp describes the people and places of Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, and, in one essay on the famous flyer Amelia Earhart, Atchison, Kansas. Her recounting of a visit to the aviatrix's birthplace, interspersed with town history and an account of Earhart's equal dedication to flying and serving the urban poor (the latter manifest in her work with the settlement house movement of the early twentieth century), demonstrates Knopp's method of looking closely at geographical spaces as windows upon more interior places."—Kansas History
Bloomsbury Review

"Although Knopp focuses on the Midwest, her writing should interest readers who desire to live a life informed by the flora, fauna, geology, and history of the region where they reside."

—Lisa Woolley, Bloomsbury Review

Nebraska Life

“These new essays are mostly set in Iowa and Nebraska; in each, the author moves easily from the concrete to the abstract and back again, blending history, science, personal reminiscence, observation and reflection—inspired by topics such as the formation of geodes, memories of her grandmother, bird-banding at Schramm State Park, volunteer work among the poor, or her experiences with claustrophobia. . . . Knopp demonstrates again why she is one of Nebraska’s most respected essayists.”

Great Plains Quarterly

"It is always a pleasure to read Lisa Knopp's prose. Not only does it flow smoothly, but it offers wonderful visual images. This is a book that makes me pause while reading as I mentally make a list of the people to whom I will be giving it as a gift."

—Becky Faber, Great Plains Quarterly

Bloomsbury Review - Lisa Woolley

"Although Knopp focuses on the Midwest, her writing should interest readers who desire to live a life informed by the flora, fauna, geology, and history of the region where they reside."—Lisa Woolley, Bloomsbury Review
Omaha World-Herald - Ryan Borchers

Interior Places is a great sample of local nature writing, making it ideal for academic study or for those who want to start reading creative nonfiction.—Ryan Borchers, Omaha World-Herald

Great Plains Quarterly - Becky Faber

"It is always a pleasure to read Lisa Knopp's prose. Not only does it flow smoothly, but it offers wonderful visual images. This is a book that makes me pause while reading as I mentally make a list of the people to whom I will be giving it as a gift."—Becky Faber, Great Plains Quarterly
Kirkus Reviews
Low-key, smoldering portraits of the American heartland. The 16 essays in this smart sequel to Knopp's earlier study, The Nature of Home (2002), explore "how one perceives or knows an interior place, how one might be changed by being within, how being within informs one's experience of being without." The author recalls how small towns in Nebraska and Iowa pulsed to the beat of the railroad, not just because it employed thousands of locals, like her father, but because the very names emblazoned on those "Chinese-red boxcars" were transporting: the Peoria and Oquawka, the Central Military Tract, the Aurora Branch and the Northern Cross, which all later merged to become the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy (CB&Q), which gathered in the Great Northern, the Northern Pacific and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle to become the Burlington Northern, in 1970 the longest train line in the country. The demure Midwest has much to offer, Knopp reminds us: somnolent afternoons when piano playing drifts out a window, the ache of being fired from factory work, the lazy beauty of western Iowa's Loess Hills, the poisoning of land, water and workers by the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. "Everything in the landscape is attached to a story which in turn is attached to another story and another," she swoons, sharing with us tales of Native Americans, Mark Twain, her Granny and many other family members. Rapt observer, botanist, birder and chronicler of the human condition, Knopp is also, in the best literary tradition, a wanderer of lingering curiosity. Elegiac, soulful and discerning.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803211438
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 299
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Lisa Knopp is an associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the author of Flight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape, Field of Vision, and The Nature of Home: A Lexicon of Essays (available in a Bison Books edition).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
The Way In     1
Traces     11
Bread and Butter     35
Surrender     53
Thirty Shades of White     65
Pilgrimage     79
In the Corn     101
Enclosures     121
A Bit of Land     137
The Fence     151
Tending     177
Souvenir     191
Lingering Curiosities     209
Departure Moon     225
Visiting Frederic     245
This Creek     263
Works Cited     279
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