James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie”

James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie” is one of the Hoosier poet’s most beloved and well-known poems, one which has endured and become part of the folk memory of generations of Americans. “Little Orphant Annie” stands alongside “Out to Old Aunt Mary’s,” “The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole,” and “When The Frost Is On The Punkin” as…

Read More

John Dos Passos on Eugene Debs: “Lover of Mankind”

The novelist John Dos Passos (1896-1970) gave us one of the great fictional treatments of the United States coming of age during the early twentieth century in his trilogy U.S.A., which consists of The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). The trilogy follows a series of characters through the early years…

Read More

“Summer” From Sherwood Anderson’s “Home Town”

Summertime. The good ol’ summertime. Time for vacation, barbecues, long hours by the water. Corn on the cob and homegrown tomatoes, hot dogs and hamburgers, root beer and iced tea. The sounds of lawnmowers, kids splashing in the pool, a crowd at a baseball game. In my part of the midwest–southwestern Ohio– it can start…

Read More

The James Whitcomb Riley Home in Greenfield, Indiana

As a child, the poet James Whitcomb Riley liked to watch the westward bound wagons, stagecoaches and carriages traveling on the National Road past his home. He’s still doing it today. The horse-drawn vehicles have been replaced with pickup trucks, SUV’s and cars, but he still sits watching. The Riley who watches now is a…

Read More

Congratulations, Graduate: Ernest Hemingway, Class of ’17

Ernest Hemingway… What comes to mind when you hear the name? The famous author big-game hunting on the African savannah? The young aspiring writer in a Paris cafe, drinking cafe au lait and rum and writing about Michigan? The war correspondent on the front lines in the Spanish Civil War, or traveling with the U.S.…

Read More

“Spring” from Sherwood Anderson’s “Home Town”

Sherwood Anderson published a book called Home Town shortly before departing for Latin America in March of 1941 to write articles for Reader’s Digest about Latin American nations and people. He was also traveling as a kind of unofficial goodwill ambassador for the U.S. State Department as the threat of war intensified for the United States. It…

Read More