Interior Places

Interior Places offers a curiously detailed group photograph of the Midwest’s interior landscape. Here is an essay about the origin, history, and influence of corn. Here we find an exploration of a childhood meeting with Frederick Leopold, youngest brother of the great naturalist Aldo. Here also are a chronicle of the 146-year alliance between Burlington, Iowa, and the Burlington Route (later the CB&O, the BN, and finally, the BNSF) and a pilgrimage to Amelia Earhart’s Kansas hometown. Whether writing about the lives of two of P. T. Barnum’s giants or the “secret” nuclear weapons plant in southeastern Iowa, about hunger in Lincoln, Nebraska, or bird banding on the Platte River, Knopp captures the inner character of the Midwest as Nature dictates it, people live it, and history reveals it.” –University of Nebraska Press catalogue.



[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