A pond in the background at the green prairie at the Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve

Far from Flyover

A Fall 2020 First-Year Tutorial

Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve, Jasper County, Iowa. Photo by Kiran Jones.

Far from Flyover: The Literature of Iowa

A First-Year Tutorial offered fall 2020, taught by Phillip Jones, associate professor, library

Learn about the past, present, and future of Iowa, your adopted home for the next four years, by exploring its rich, surprising literature. Through study of historic documents, short fiction, a play, memoir, film, and two acclaimed contemporary novels, we will consider questions such as: What distinguishes the literature of Iowa? Are there common literary elements — themes, characters, or settings — found across Iowa’s literary history? And what can these texts teach us about our state, our community, and ourselves? We will also seek out diverse voices sometimes omitted from Iowa’s literature and learn from their stories. By the end of this tutorial, you will have established yourself as a college-level writer, discussion participant, academic researcher, and an honorary Iowan.

Why I Chose This Tutorial

My family is from Iowa so I've always felt a connection to Iowa but being from New York City, I didn't know much about the literature or history of the state.

In class we  had interesting discussion about the historical demographics of the state and the effect they have on Iowa today and its literature. In this class we  often discussed the relationship that Iowa and the Middle-West has with the rest of the country. Besides reading historical literature we  also read more contemporary novels that are about the modern-day Iowa.

– Stella Lowery ’24

After Taking This Tutorial from a Distance

I feel very prepared to enter a rural community in Iowa with the ability to really appreciate the culture I am going into. Professor Jones is very friendly, passionate, and easygoing in terms of requirements. Our readings have all been interesting ranging from Native folklore to thriller novels (all based in Iowa of course).
– Nora Leahy ’24

A Partial Reading List

Students read two novels (Universal Harvester and Gilead) and a range of excerpted material as well. The organizing principle was to read literature, broadly defined, focused on Iowa by authors from or having resided in the state for a substantial period of time. Older work included essays by Ruth Suckow 1914.

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