A whole genre of literature, that of the American working class during the Great Depression, has all but disappeared. Now a WSU professor and a Northwest novelist are bringing writer Robert Cantwell, a Washington native, and his most significant book, Land of Plenty, out of the mists of time.
Cantwell, one of the finest American writers of the 1930s, was admired by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, says T.V. Reed, professor of English and American studies. His masterpiece is set in a Washington plywood factory and his characters are based on the workers he once toiled alongside.
During the Pacific Northwest’s mining boom in the second half of the nineteenth century, small communities to house and supply miners appeared throughout the West. And the need to move supplies into these areas lead to the arrival of steamboats on Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River.
Author Linda Hackbarth looks into the area around Lake Pend Oreille in the 1860s and the … » More …
Kathleen Flenniken ’83 describes and reads from her second collection of poetry Plume, published by the University of Washington Press in 2012, in this video produced by her son Alexander Flenniken ’11.
Set off by images of the Atomic City, Flenniken’s hometown of Richland, Washington, she documents her coming of age and eventually her work at Hanford in the heart of the nuclear age.
Recently Flenniken was named Washington’s poet laureate for 2012-14. She teaches poetry and is a co-editor and president of Floating Bridge Press. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
“When President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the go-ahead for the Manhattan Project, he set in motion an extraordinary collaboration amongst scientists and the military to develop an atomic bomb, driven by fears of Hitler’s creating one first. Whether or not the eventual dropping of the bombs on Japan was necessary to end the war in the Pacific will probably never be resolved. But the bomb undoubtedly changed the world, as well as the cultural, historical, and physical landscape of southeastern Washington.”
Fall was a fortunate season at the Tonnemaker farm in Royal City, Washington. A warm October provided brothers Kurt ’84 and Kole a few extra weeks of squash, tomatoes, and peppers to load into their trucks and deliver to farmers markets and restaurants around the state.
This family farm has changed since the current generation took charge of it. It was established by WSU extension agent Orland Tonnemaker ’22 and his wife Pearl. In 1962 they planted orchards of cherries, pears, and apples. Like many of the farms around them, they sold their fruit to area warehouses.
During cherry harvest in 1981, Orland died, and … » More …
In his foreword to the latest account of the Nez Perce War of 1877, Kevin Carson ’81 writes, “In my memory, there was never a time when our family was not fascinated by the saga of the Nez Perce.” Carson’s great-great-great grandfather, Levi Watrous, served as a scout during the Civil War, then moved to Columbia County, Washington, in 1872, where he made his living as a stockman. … » More …
In the September 10, 1951, issue of Life magazine is a picture of a bulldozer mounding apples in the Yakima dump. Seven acres of apples worth $6 million dollars rotted as pigs rooted through them, the result of failing foreign markets and high tariffs. At the time, if Washington’s apples didn’t sell, orchardists paid $5 a ton to have their culls hauled off to rot.
Culls are rejected from the fresh fruit market due primarily to shape, size, or color, but they are perfectly sound for such traditional uses as juice. The … » More …
Jeffrey A. Johnson University of Oklahoma Press, 2008
Few if any aspects of the Northwest’s political and labor history have been so thoroughly documented as the region’s most radical era, from the 1890s to the First World War. Books and articles have highlighted such topics as the rise of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg’s … » More …
There aren’t many anthologies that juxtapose poems by the likes of Robert Frost with those of elementary school kids. In Praise of Fertile Land does, and it works.
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a treeToward heaven still,And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill Beside it, and there may be two or threeApples I didn’t pick upon some bough.But I am done with apple-picking now,
intones Frost in “After Apple-Picking”—expressing, it may be, not just the fatigue of harvest, but adult world-weariness.
Then along comes second-grader Henry Phillips, offering “A Recipe for a Garden”:
Add roses and a huge stretch for tulips.Pinch in a … » More …