Interior Places (Paperback)
Bison Books, 9780803211438, 299pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
List Price: 21.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
“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.
About 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).
Praise For Interior Places…
“[A] smart sequel to Knopp’s earlier study, The Nature of Home. . . . 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.”—Kirkus Reviews
“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
— Ryan Borchers
"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
"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
— Lisa Woolley
“Whether watching wood ducks with naturalist Aldo Leopold’s brother Frederick or contemplating the quotidian lives of two of P.T. Barnum’s circus giants, Knopp’s observations have been finely honed over time and place into purposeful explorations of themes that have percolated throughout her childhood and finally come to fruition in her adult roles as writer and professor, mother and daughter.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist
"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
— Becky Faber
“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.”—Nebraska Life
"Lisa Knopp's quietly significant Interior Places is surely among the more important essay collections of our millennium's first decade."—Gaynell Gavin, Western American Literature
— Gaynell Gavin
“Lisa Knopp explores the inner life—subjectivity—with grace, compassion, and a love for landscapes. This book brings together two of the major currents in creative nonfiction—memoir and nature writing—from the mature perspective of a writer dedicated to careful inhabitation. Like those geodes that open this fine collection, Interior Places sparkles all the way through.”—Elizabeth Dodd, author of Prospect: Journeys and Landscapes
— Elizabeth Dodd
“Knopp is one of our finest American natural history writers. There’s no writer I know who is better at capturing the beauty and detail of the tall grass prairie and plains states. Knopp writes lyrically yet scientifically with her facts grounded in both experience and solid sources. She now takes her place among such writers as her literary mentor Aldo Leopold.”—Mary Swander, author of The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles
— Mary Swander
“Lisa Knopp is one of the finest essayists in the Midwest and the nation. In this moving and informative book, she takes us on a journey into the heart of places emotional and geographical, personal and universal. From the graveside of a beloved grandmother to the resurrection of native prairie, Knopp’s transformative vision reminds us that the difference between soil and soul is only one letter.”—John Price, author of Not Just Any Land and Man Killed by Pheasant
— John Price