personal stories about the places of Midwestern literature

Volume 3

John Joseph Mathews

Pawhuska, OK

Robert Hayden

Detroit, MI

Henry Bellamann

Fulton, MO

Ted Kooser

Seward County, NE

Kurt Vonnegut

Indianapolis, IN

Volume 2

Kate Chopin

St. Louis, MO

Langston Hughes

Lawrence, KS

Helen Hooven Santmyer

Xenia, OH

F. Scott Fitzgerald

St. Paul, MN

William Least Heat-Moon

Columbia, MO

Volume 1


St. Louis, MO


Richmond, IN


Central City, NE

Edgar Lee Masters

Petersburg, IL

Naomi Shihab Nye

Ferguson, MO

Editor’s Note

When I read, I pay attention to setting. What kind of scenes does this author include? Where is this story located? What are the pressures at play? Are they local, regional, national, international, intergalactic? How do they affect the experiences of the characters, or the story that’s being told, or what is left out?

I also think about relevance. What does this tell me about the time it was written? What does it tell me about life today? What tangents does it send me on?

Each of the essays in Literary Landscapes attempts to answer some of those questions. This is a project about the ways that Midwestern literature is relevant today—how we engage with the stories we tell about our region and with the places all around us that have been featured in them.

Like the authors and the sites they’re responding to, our contributors represent a range of backgrounds and experiences of the Midwest. If you would like to contribute to Literary Landscapes, check out this blog post for more information and a list of potential sites.



Andy Oler, Outpost Editor
The New Territory