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Reviews 185 Growing Up in Iowa. By Clarence A. Andrews (Ames: Iowa State Uni­ versity Press, 1978. 155 pages, $8.95.) Clarence A. Andrews’ Growing Up in Iowa: Reminiscences of 14 Iowa Authors is a natural companion volume to his earlier book, A Literary History of Iowa (1972) because here we have the first-hand accounts of how place does indeed contribute to the growth of a writer’s mind. And it’s important to stress, I think, as the subtitle does, that the reminiscences found in this book — in all their variety of temperament and form: fiction, essay, poetry — are the memories of authors, the recollections of the sites, sights, and society of Iowa as experienced from 1875 to the present by such native sons and daughters as Hamlin Garland, Frank Luther Mott, James Stevens, Phil Strong, Paul Engle, Frederick Manfred, Richard Bissell, Paul Corey, Julie McDonald, Richard Lloyd-Jones, Robert Boston, Winifred Mayne Van Etten — and Andrews himself. As Andrews jokingly comments in his “neighborly” introduction, Iowa grows poets as well as pigs. In the narrow sense, an editorial choice which some might lament, Andrews has not compiled a people’s autobiography, a people’s history of younger days in Iowa; no “case study” reports here from farmers in the fields and sloughs, or small town merchants at work, or women in the home, or kids at play; and (regrettably) no Sac and Fox talk of grand­ parents and sacred rivers. These are novelists, playwrights, academics, professional writers — all white, all middle class, some (like Garland) even “genteel,” all aspiringly “upwardly mobile,” artists all, with an eye for form, for stylizing “fact.” But, paradoxically, because these are poets in the Wordsworthian sense, the Iowan and non-Iowan, white and non-white reader should feel quite truthfully and beautifully, in a much broader and aesthetically beneficial sense, the presence of people on the land, people in Iowa, “A Place to Grow” as the state motto has it — as if to give official support to Andrews’ theme. Every reader will find a favorite author or two among the fourteen. James Hearst and Manfred are mine, followed closely by Andrews, LloydJones , and Van Etten — three of the more lyrical “poets” in their descrip­ tions of past days in Waterloo, Mason City, and Emmetsburg, respectively. In his reminiscence, Andrews asks, “Did You Ever See A Dream Walking —■ ?” to which he answers “I did,” as he talks about his infatuation with the stars, movies, and theatres of small town northeast Iowa in the 20s. By extension, what Andrews has brought together so nicely in Growing Up in Iowa is the “dream walking” in words, the journeys toward art, of poets as people whose feet and spirits— like their less articulate but kindred citizenry— are firmly planted in nurturing Iowa soil. ROBERT GISH, University of Northern Iowa ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
p. 185
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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