Heartland Portrait: Stories From the Rural Midwest is a self-portrait drawn from eighteen years of Free River Press writing workshops with farm families, small town and village residents, commercial fishermen, towboat captains and others living in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. It is a record of the transformation of rural America, an ensemble of personal stories that document not only loss in rapidly changing times but success in adapting and preserving a way of life.
To read Dave Rasdal's column on Heartland Portrait in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, click here.
To read the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier article by Melody Parker, click here.
Heartland Portrait includes sixty-eight stories and six essays by fifty-six writers.
Sample chapters include:
- Farming, Food, & Rural Life
- Simple Times
- Icons & Emblems
- Farm Crisis
- Land Stewardship
- Local Foods
- Villages & Towns
- The River
Advance Praise for Heartland Portrait:
“When we were closer to land and place, when we sensed of our surroundings more acutely, and when we felt more deeply the spirit and joy of life, even in tough times, [this] is what we renew from Heartland Portrait: Stories from the Rural Midwest. Heartland Portrait is more than a narrative; in many ways it is the conscience that we need to remember, cherish and perhaps restore, that makes us a human community.”
—Dave Warren, Former Deputy Director, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
“Robert Wolf has not only gathered a chorus of unique and powerful voices in these pages, he has enabled them to sing in a plainspoken poetry that breaks your heart one minute and makes it soar the next. This book is filled with stories about people and places most of us barely know and about ways of life that seem to be vanishing before our eyes. But they come at us with such forceful pride that we do get to know them and we share their lives. This is a book of tremendous energy and passion. In these pages, you can hear America sing.”
—Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune/WGN Radio
“A collection of moving, at times poignant, stories from the land. If rural America can be saved, it will be in part through giving voice to its people in just the way this splendid book does.”
—Jonathan Andelson, professor and Director of the Center for Prairie Studies, Grinnell College