Annotated Bibliography

Lenora Castillo

Alvarado, Jonathan Benjamin. “Redistricting and the Latino Boom in Nebraska.” Latino Decisions: Everything Latino Politics. Blogger, 6 June 2011.Web. 19 April 2015.

This is an excellent resource for anyone exploring statistics, data, and general information regarding Latin American politics. Fueled by a group of social scientists, this online database has a mission to make both local and national Latino/a politics into a publicly shared and discussed online domain. In addition, this site offers technical tools and research methodology to assist any company or foundation interested in engaging these important issues. The personal familiarity and experiences of the staff figures into the researchers’ work to produce the most accurate information and analysis on Latino public opinion. A skilled engagement of Latino diversity and relationships are integrated in to every element of every project.

Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987-2007. Print.

Poet and essayist Gloria Anzaldua redefines the concept of “borderlands” not only as a geographical region, but as a third consciousness dictated by an emotional, spiritual, and psychic contact zone where anyone outside of the Anglo norm resides. As Anzaldua re-frames this definition, she uses touches upon significant experiences that are encountered by those living in this contact zone. She does this in her essay “Entering the Serpent” by expressing in both Spanish and English the history of the Aztec people and their original feminine snake goddess which later evolved into Our Lady, then traces these roots to the current origin of the virgin-whore dichotomy. She also describes her creative process; existing as a lesbian Chicana feminist in her “borderlands” she is prone to shamanic visions, which are essential to her artistic process. Major themes/images which arise both in her poetry and her essays includes that of snakes, as a vehicle for the feminine, aliens as a metaphor for not only an illegal alien, but also for oneself (as in the poem “Interface”), horses, and reclaiming of Chicano language, as discussed in “How to Tame the Wild Tongue.

Castillo, Lenora. “Tide-water Baptism.” MA thesis. Iowa State U, 1998. Digital Repository at Iowa State University. Web. April 2015.

This dynamic collection of poems is told through the perspective of a Mexican-American woman who recalls memories of first entering the United States, then her assimilation into the Great Plains. The poetic forms rely predominantly upon the personal free-verse narrative; the poems themselves are heavily landscape-based, in which Nebraska (where the speaker is raised) figures into the poems as a character in itself. Poems such as “La Nebraska” describe the narrator’s experience of crossing the border with her family. Poems such as “The Migrant Workers Are Back” engage a mixture of hopefulness, hopelessness, and social justice which figure into the Chicano/Latino migrant workers’ complex relationship to the Great Plains. In addition to the natural world, weather specifically is a major theme as depicted by Castillo’s poems “Second Guessing the Storm” and Tornado, in which the speaker both challenges and recreates the stereotypical Nebraskan landscape.

Garbacz, Mary. “There’s No Place Like Nebraska–for Weather.” Strategic Discussions for Nebraska. Vol. 2 U of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014. Web. 25 April 2015.

A very good resource from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, especially for someone interested in learning more about the Nebraskan climate, landscape, and weather. The mission of Strategic Discussions for Nebraska is to explain UNL research, particularly that in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, so that any reader can understand, access, and appreciate its importance.

Twyla Hansen

Dewy, Johnathan. “Americanism and Localism.” Dial 68.1 (1920): 684-88. Google Books: Dial. Google Books. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

Identifies American localism as a critical component of any literary movement that is to come out of the United States. Dewy examines the ways in which newspaper journalist and writers have produced a “permanently successful” form of American literature because of their dedication to serving local communities and not the larger national presence. He further describes the inherent interaction that takes place between a character or voice and the “social environment” background of a writing; without that background of place Dewy argues that literature would turn bleak. Though written almost a century ago, during the emergence of an American Literature, Dewy’s argument for locality still holds true today and provides a history of the philosophy behind America’s relationship to literature that reflects place.

Pfefferle, W. T. Poets on Place. Logan: Utah State UP, 2005. Print.

A collection of interviews between W. T. Pfefferle and over fifty American poets that discuss the importance of place and landscape in poetry. In addition, the overall goal of the text is to answer the question: “How did their [other writers] work spring from the places of their lives?” Through reflection of memory Pfefferle, with his chosen poets, ponder how the style and form of their poetry has developed through shifting diction, candid imagery and other stylistic elements to mirror a literal landscape that has impacted their lives through language. The primary interviews recorded in this book are also helpful in understanding how poets vocalize their internal connection to a landscape. The assemblage of voices Pfefferle has woven together within this book present distinct authorial voices, coming from distinctive places, that come together to form a sense of an American poetic community based on individual local.

Allison Hedge Coke

Allen, Chadwick. “Siting Earthworks, Navigating Waka Patterns of Indigenous Settlement in Allison Hedge Coke’s Blood Run and Robert Sullivan’s Star Waka.Indigenous Americas: Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 27 April 2015.

This source briefly outlines the scientific and historical importance of the ancient Indian mounds discussed in Allison Hedge Coke’s Blood Run, as well as discusses poetic and thematic elements of the free verse play. Allen pays close attention to Hedge Coke’s specific order and structure of poems, claiming that the purposefully choice of representation and structuring has broader implications to the importance of the work as a whole.

William Kloefkorn

Kloefkorn, William. Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems. Ed. Ted Genoways. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2010.

This single volume collection of Kleofkorn’s poetry has a helpful short introduction by the editor (a respected scholar of American poetry). Due to Kloefkorn’s habit of publishing in small Midwestern presses, it would be difficult for readers to gather up all his various books. This volume presents good selections from those books, as well as poems that had not previously appeared. This is the best book for getting to know Kloefkorn’s work.

Pichaske, David R. “William Kloefkorn: Looking Back over the Shoulder of Memory” Western American Literature. 38.1 (2003).

This long essay provides an overview of the themes that occurred throughout Kloefkorn’s work and life. Includes some biographical details and links them to his poetry. A good introduction beyond that provided by Genoways in Swallowing the Soap.

Knickerbocker, Scott. Ecopoetics: The Langauge of Nature, the Nature of Language. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2012.

Knickerbocker outlines a theory for reading poetry as “natural” insofar as it is made up of sounds created by material human bodies. While mainly focusing on modernist authors, this technique of locating “sensual poesis” is applicable to Kloefkorn’s deft use of sound patterns to produce various emotions and moods.

Hagenstein, Edwin C., Sara M. Gregg, and Brian Donahue. American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011.

This anthology of important literature and other texts traces the history and development of American agrarian thought. While not focusing particularly on the Great Plains, the texts in this volume do include important predecessors of Kloefkorn, such as the Populists of the late 19th century, and those like Liberty Hyde Bailey who advocated for a modern agrarian ideal of small towns and family farms.

Matt Mason

Aptowicz, Cristin O’Keefe. Words in Your Face : A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. New York, NY, USA: Soft Skull Press, 2007. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 27 April 2015.

This is a great introduction to Slam poetry and its history in America. Starting with an outline of the basic rules of poetry slams, Aptowicz then explores the cultural and historical significance of the initial development of slam poetry in America in the 1980’s, as well as its more recent popular reemergence.

Somers-Willett, Susan B.A.. Cultural Politics of Slam Poetry : Race, Identity, and the Performance of Popular Verse in America. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: University of Michigan Press, 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 27 April 2015.

This is another great source for a more in-depth look at the cultural and historical significance of Slam poetry and spoken word. Specifically, the author explores the complex relationship between poetry and audience, and how poetry slams revolutionized the concept and importance of audience participation in popular poetry.

John G. Neihardt

Deloria, Vine Jr. ed. A Sender of Words: Essays in Memory of John G. Neihardt. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2005.

This collection of essays, first published in 1984, is a range of tributes and appreciations of Neihardt from a variety of well known authors, critics, and historians. Contributors include N. Scott Momaday, Raymond J. DeMallie, and of course Vine Deloria Jr. Organized into a first section of tributes and a second on commentaries, this collection proves the depth of influence Neihardt had on the authors of the New West.

Aly, Lucile F. “Poetry and History in Neihardt’s Cycle of the West” Western American Literature. 16.1 (1981). p 3-18.

Lucile F. Aly was the most prolific scholar of Neihardt’s non-Black Elk work. She published several essays in Western American Literature (which has recently moved to UNL where it is now edited by Prof. Tom Lynch). This essay in particular focuses on Neihardt’s understanding and use of historical materials and the adaptations he made in working toward an epic.

Olson, Paul. “The Epic and Plains Literature: Rolvaag, Cather, and Neihardt.” Prairie Schooner. 55.1/2. 1981. 263-285.

Prairie Schooner is and has been primarily a literary magazine. But on occasion it also publishes works of scholarship. This essay (along with that Aly’s) was published during a spat of interest in Neihardt around his 100th birthday. Paul Olson a professor in the UNL English Dept. (now emeritus) published this essay comparing the approaches of these three iconic plains writers in shaping Great Plains history to the formal requirements of the epic.

Young, David C., “Crazy Horse on the Trojan Plain: A Comment on the Classicism of John G. Neihardt,” Classical and Modern Literature: A Quarterly, 1982 Fall; 3.1: 45-53.

Classical and Modern Literature might be a surprising place to find scholarship on Neihardt. But this appreciative essay traces Niehardt’s own classical education and provides compelling evidence of the influence of Homer’s Iliad on Neihardt, and especially the section “The Death of Crazy Horse” in Song of the Indian Wars.

Neihardt, John G. Cycle of the West. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1991.

Neihardt’s five-book epic is his greatest original contribution to American literature. Written in rhyming heroic couplets, the long poems focus on the mountain men, cavalry soldiers, and Native Americans who worked, lived, and fought on the plains over the 19th century. The poems highlight the heroism and tragedy of westward expansion, often focusing on the natural world.

Neihardt, John G. Knowledge & Opinions. ed. by Lori Holm Utecht. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2002.

This collection highlights Neihardt’s prolific writing of reviews and criticism. The number and breadth of these reviews indicate the ecumenical generosity of Neihardt’s intellect. Included are reviews major literary works like All Quiet on the Western Front, The Green Hills of Africa and scientific and philosophic works such as Betrand Russel’s Mysticism and Logic or works on gravitation. Of interest for those wishing to get a better sense of Neihardt’s mind in action.

Neihart, John G. Lyric and Dramatic Poems. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1965.

A reprint of Neihardt’s 1926 edition of his Collected Poems, this volume includes most of his poetry written between 1900 and 1915, before he began the Cycle of the West. The first half is made up of lyrics which wonder at the mysteries of the world and celebrate the seasons and moods of the plains. The second half contains two verse dramas.

Don Welch

Berry, Wendell. The Citizenship Papers. Washington, DC: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2003.

Wendell Berry is an advocate for rural life and understanding. He is the author of over forty books of fiction, essays, and poetry, most centered in deeply understanding and valuing his home in rural Kentucky. The Citizenship Papers is a collection of his essays on cultural criticism. His entire work is available from his website.

Carr, Patrick and Maria Kefelas. Hollowing Out the Midde: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America. Boston: Beacon Press, 2010.

Carr and Kefelas’ study of the migration patterns of Midwestern young adults has become a standard reference for sociologists, geographers, and civic leaders.

Dewy, Johnathan. “Americanism and Localism.” Dial 68.1 (1920): 684-88. Google Books: Dial. Google Books. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

Identifies American localism as a critical component of any literary movement that is to come out of the United States. Dewy examines the ways in which newspaper journalist and writers have produced a “permanently successful” form of American literature because of their dedication to serving local communities and not the larger national presence. He further describes the inherent interaction that takes place between a character or voice and the “social environment” background of a writing; without that background of place Dewy argues that literature would turn bleak. Though written almost a century ago, during the emergence of an American Literature, Dewy’s argument for locality still holds true today and provides a history of the philosophy behind America’s relationship to literature that reflects place.

Gruchow, Paul. “What We Teach Rural Children.” In Grassroots: The Universe of Home. (Minneapolis: Milkweed, 1995). 83-100.

Paul Gruchow was a Minnesota author and visionary for the understanding of the natural environment and the honoring of the rural Great Plains. He is the author of six books. Following his untimely death, the Gruchow Foundation created a web record honoring his work.

Kilborn, Peter. Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America’s New Rootless Professional Class. NY: Times Books, 2009.

In this book, NY Times correspondent Peter Kilborn profiles the reality of ongoing migration in the new professional class of white collar workers. He connects this new migratory social class to the rise of multinational corporations and the decay of regional commitments.

Rural Futures Institute

The Rural Futures Institute is the University of Nebraska’s flagship program for encouraging the vitality of rural communities. This article addresses the problem of rural outmigration of youth 18-30 in the context of some immigration of adults 35-45.

Pfefferle, W. T. Poets on Place. Logan: Utah State UP, 2005. Print.

A collection of interviews between W. T. Pfefferle and over fifty American poets that discuss the importance of place and landscape in poetry. In addition, the overall goal of the text is to answer the question: “How did their [other writers] work spring from the places of their lives?” Through reflection of memory Pfefferle, with his chosen poets, ponder how the style and form of their poetry has developed through shifting diction, candid imagery and other stylistic elements to mirror a literal landscape that has impacted their lives through language. The primary interviews recorded in this book are also helpful in understanding how poets vocalize their internal connection to a landscape. The assemblage of voices Pfefferle has woven together within this book present distinct authorial voices, coming from distinctive places, that come together to form a sense of an American poetic community based on individual local.