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

Winter: the quiet time. A season of stillness after the autumn and the holidays. A time for snow, for cold, for long hours indoors as we await the spring’s return. Sometimes it’s raw and rainy. At other times the earth is blanketed with silence and snowfall, and some winters are mild, sometimes mild enough that…

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Some Books of 1917

1917 was a watershed year for the United States. In April of that year the United States finally entered the First World War, which transformed the nation. By the war’s end 4,743,829 men and women were mobilized into service, 53,513 were killed in combat, and 63,195 were dead from disease and other causes. There were…

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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…

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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…

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“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…

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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…

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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.…

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