Field of Vision, U of Iowa P, 1998.

In her first collection of nature essays, Knopp offers 16 pieces filled with the evidence not only of books but also of the eyes, ears, nose and taste buds to give a multidimensional view of nature. ... Knopp, like Eiseley, Burroughs, and Dillard, addresses the central question of American nature writing: how to "see herself in the natural world but also see the natural world of herself." — Publishers Weekly

A collection of essays on vision, not from the standpoint of the visual scientist but from the perspective of an observant writer. ... Some of the essays are clearly autobiographical. Others are less directly so, but all are the product of Knopp's personal observations. Her writing style is clear, engaging, and at times almost poetic. ... This work is reminiscent of The Object Stares Back, by James Elkins, except that the latter is from the viewpoint of the art historian. — Choice

Lisa Knopp wants "to see the mundane as profoundly new," to "see and record the wild places I know before they are gone. Each day, I am reminded that the natural world is vanishing." Knopp, who wrote [this] book while living in Nebraska, and now teaches at Southern Illinois University, presents a series of essays linked, she finds only after writing them, by their common exploration of "the act of seeing." ... Wearing her erudition lightly, Knopp leads readers through meditations that begin and end in close observation but fly in all directions in between. She is the kind of writer whom I would follow on any subject, confident that she could teach me new lays of a land I thought already familiar, as well as lead me into altogether new territory. — Women's Review of Books

Flight Dreams:
A Life in the Midwestern Landscape
Copyright © 1998
by Lisa Knopp
U of Iowa P


Reminiscent of Thoreau's introspective nature writing and Dillard's taut, personal prose, each chapter in Flight Dreams stands alone as a distinct narrative, yet each is linked by profoundly personal descriptions of dreams, the natural world, defining experiences, and chance encounters with people that later prove to be fateful. Part Eastern meditation, part dream sequence, part historical reconstruction, Flight Dreams testifies to a deep understanding of how the natural world — its visible and invisible elements — guides our destinies. — from the jacket
In Flight Dreams, Lisa Knopp captures the midwestern experience — what it means to grow up in a Mississippi River town and to wonder how it would feel to soar like one of the birds overhead. Like an eagle or hawk, she finds ways to "move beyond what seems oppressive and dull" and flies in the face of convention — working her way through a PhD program, becoming a single mother, entering into a multiracial marriage, and launching a writing career. Knopp lands on some of the key social and political issues for women in the latter half of the twentieth century. — Mary Swander


The Nature of Home
Copyright © 2002
by Lisa Knopp
U of Nebraska P


For Lisa Knopp, homesickness is a literal sickness. During a lengthy sojourn away from the Nebraska prairie she fell ill, and only when she decided to return home did she recover. Homesickness is the triggering event for this collection of essays concerned with nothing less than what it means to feel at home. Knopp writes masterfully about ecology, place, and the values and beliefs that sustain the individual within an impersonal world. She is passionate about her subject whether it be an endangered beetle in the salt marshes near Lincoln, Nebraska, a forgotten Nebraska inventor, a museum muralist, a paleontologist, or the roots of Arbor Day as a misguided attempt to "correct" a perceived lack in the Great Plains landscape as seen from the sensibilities of Eastern settlers. Here is a writer who has read widely and judiciously and for whom everything resonates within the intricately structured definition of home. — from the jacket
An abiding devotion to a place and its inhabitants: sentimental in the right way, mnemonic, tempting. — Kirkus Reviews
A significant treatment of home, environment, and natural history. It succeeds on several levels: as an observant work of regional nature writing, as a thoughtful collection of interlinked essays, and as a moving book of personal reflections. ... It has the breadth and vision of Thoreau's Walden and the intimacy and integrity of Scott Russell Sanders' Hunting for Hope while still maintaining its own unique identity and its author's individual voice. — Robert Root, the author of EB White: The Emergence of an Essayist


Interior Places
Copyright © 2007
by Lisa Knopp
U of Nebraska P


[A] smart sequel to Knopp’s earlier study, The Nature of Home. . . . Rapt observer, botanist, birder and chronicler of the human condition, Knopp is also, in the best literary tradition, a wanderer of lingering curiosity. . . . Elegiac, soulful and discerning. — Kirkus Reviews
In these engagingly written pieces Knopp describes the people and places of Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio, and, in one essay on the famous flyer Amelia Earhart, Atchison, Kansas. Her recounting of a visit to the aviatrix's birthplace, interspersed with town history and an account of Earhart's equal dedication to flying and serving the urban poor (the latter manifest in her work with the settlement house movement of the early twentieth century), demonstrates Knopp's method of looking closely at geographical spaces as windows upon more interior places. — Kansas History
Lisa Knopp explores the inner life — subjectivity — with grace, compassion, and a love for landscapes. This book brings together two of the major currents in creative nonfiction — memoir and nature writing — from the mature perspective of a writer dedicated to careful inhabitation. Like those geodes that open this fine collection, Interior Places sparkles all the way through. — Elizabeth Dodd, author of Prospect: Journeys and Landscapes
Lisa Knopp is one of the finest essayists in the Midwest and the nation. In this moving and informative book, she takes us on a journey into the heart of places emotional and geographical, personal and universal. From the graveside of a beloved grandmother to the resurrection of native prairie, Knopp’s transformative vision reminds us that the difference between soil and soul is only one letter. — John Price, author of Not Just Any Land and Man Killed by Pheasant
Knopp is one of our finest American natural history writers. There’s no writer I know who is better at capturing the beauty and detail of the tall grass prairie and plains states. Knopp writes lyrically yet scientifically with her facts grounded in both experience and solid sources. She now takes her place among such writers as her literary mentor Aldo Leopold. — Mary Swander, author of The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles