personal stories about the places of Midwestern literature

Volume 5

Angelou portrait

Maya Angelou

Stamps, AR

Cisneros portrait

Sandra Cisneros

Chicago, IL

Blei portrait

Norbert Blei

Sister Bay, WI

Piatt portrait

Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

North Bend, OH

Hinton portrait

S.E. Hinton

Tulsa, OK

Volume 4

Willa Cather Special Edition

Please enjoy this special volume of Literary Landscapes focused exclusively on Willa Cather. Although Cather is well known as a writer of the plains, she has substantial attachments to places all across the country—and that means we get to stretch Literary Landscapes beyond our customary Midwestern boundaries!

Special thanks to the National Willa Cather Center for access to portraits of Cather and archival photos of Mount Monadnock and the Pavelka Farmstead. Located in Cather’s hometown of Red Cloud, Nebraska, the NWCC is an archive, museum, and study center owned and operated by the Willa Cather Foundation, which also maintains the largest collection of historic sites and landscapes related to any American writer.

Thank you for reading! If you would like to contribute to Literary Landscapes, click here for more information and a list of potential sites.



Andy Oler, Outpost Editor
The New Territory

Pavelka Farmstead

Red Cloud, NE

Glacier Creek Preserve

Omaha, NE

The Fine Arts Building

Chicago, IL

The Mesa

Taos, NM

Old Burying Ground

Jaffrey, NH

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