Prairie Arts
Photography

In this issue, Justin Hayworth turns his lens on the meadows of the Conard Environmental Research Area.
Photography

In this issue, the photographer zooms in on asters and grasses for two of his intimate prairie portraits.
Photography

In his compositions, Iowa State University photography professor Steven Herrnstadt mines place for haunted and haunting resonances.
Photography

This photographer has parlayed a lifetime passion for the natural world into a body of vivid photographic work.
Installation

A trio of theater professionals use the prairie as a stage for a meditation on a global environment in flux.
Paintings

This Iowa artist's meticulous compositions mine the haunted space between object and idea.
Collaboration

Poet Molly Beth Griffin and illustrator Claudia McGehee came together to celebrate the Sand Hill crane's migration.
by Molly Beth Griffin and Claudia McGehee
Multimedia

Featured in this issue: the Bald Eagle, the Cedar Waxwing, the Sand Hill Crane, and the Short-eared Owl.
Paintings

The Kansas City artist's strongly horizontal paintings capture the sweep of the Midwestern sky and landscape.
Short story

A new short story from the author of "Possum Trot."
Local History

On Wednesdays, when Shirley Springer’s dad shut the door of the drugstore in Garwin, Iowa, the best part of the week was about to begin.
by Frank Heath
Paintings

This painter found inspiration for her triptych in one of the Midwest's most common sights: a cornfield.
Memoir

For farmers like Howard McDonough, memory packs every acre and outbuilding.
by Howard McDonough
Photography

Whether his subject is a blossom, a butterfly, or a prairie sky, this photographer's lens restores him to the fascination of childhood.
by Larry Stone
Essay

This rancher used his diary to envision a brighter future on the land for his children.
by Pete Ferrell
Commentary

Where's the prairie? Is it an untouched remnant? A farm landscape? A freshly mowed suburban yard? Our correspondent says "yes."
by Thomas Dean
Interview

Linda Omaña, a member of our editorial staff, sat down with the photographer when he was on Grinnell College’s campus.
by Linda Omaña
Essay

As a child in Sioux City, Iowa,, Jason Darrah's heroes were garbage men. Now he is one.
by Jason Darrah
Woodcut

The artist's recent images were influenced by the gradual transformation of the prairie by settlements and agriculture.
by Tony Crowley
Mixed-media

In this closeup, we focus on a central Minnesota artist who uses multiple media to explore place, gender, and history.
Poetry

A Kentucky poet describes the union of body, emotion and landscape he finds on the prairie.
by Ethan Starr Evans
Paintings

This Kansas artist abstracts prairie animals from their natural settings. The result: mysterious beauty.
Poetry

A poet tenderly describes a young girl's experience of her Iowa home.
Multimedia

Featured in this issue: the bobolink, the burrowing owl, the dickcissel, and Henslow's sparrow. Add them to your Life List.
by Jane Carlson
Interview

A conversation between Rootstalk editor Emma Thomasch and residents of the Mayflower retirement community.
by Emma Thomasch
Short story

Florida-based writer Todd Kincaid has given us a short story detailing a rabbit hunt on the prairie.
by Todd Kincaid
Feature

Quilts aren't just for beds. Our correspondent shows us how they're warming up the rural landscape, too.
by Janet Carl
Feature

Janet Schlapkohl dramatized the farm crisis of the 80s in her one-woman show.
Digital Art

Digital artwork inspired by Grinnell’s beautiful sunsets and the restored prairie of the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA).
by Ajuna Kyaruzi
Memoir

When things change, do they always change for the better? See what you think after reading this memoir of a one-room Missouri schoolhouse.
by Helen Johnson
Memoir

A young writer fresh out of college; a Nebraska horse farm; a wild-west show reunion. A memoir by Dan Weeks.
by Dan Weeks
Publisher's note

As a multimedia journal, Rootstalk offers words, pictures, video and sound. Does the future hold smell as well?
by Jon Andelson
Editor's note

For our Associate Editor, the prairie came home hardest through a sky full of stars.
by Emily Mamrak
Closeup

Artist Thomas Agran took an unexpected landscape for his subject: the convulsed earth of a construction site that had once been a farm.
Essay

The FarmHouse at Hickory Highlands in Fairfield, Iowa looks as if it sprang out of the earth it sits on. That's because it did.
by John Freeberg
Essay

Last summer, native Californian Mary Rose Bernal "farm-sat," and found country life hard, sweaty, itchy and surprisingly...happy.
by Mary Rose Bernal
Photography

The work of this Connecticut-based photographer has frequently found its way onto our pages. Take a look at his work to see why.
Poetry

The work we're featuring from this Iowa poet focuses on both prairie flora and fauna.
by Mike Lewis-Beck
Paintings

Though best known for her urban paintings of New York and Kansas City, this artist also captures the Midwest's rural heart.
by Jane Pronko
Essay

Our regular contributor is hooked on the prairie's grasses. Here's how it happened.
by Sandy Moffett
Photography

Our regular contributor's photos take us from the micro to the macro.
by Justin Hayworth
Short story

Sometimes the past's beauty remains beyond our reach, even when it's at our fingertips.
by Quentin Chirdon
Photography

The seasons can be starkly different on the prairie, as this Chilean photographer found.
by Oliver Muñoz
Short story

This fiction writer took prairie graveyards as her inspiration in these short pieces.
by Molly Rideout
Photography

Our regular contributor gave us an image of the Conard Environmental Research Area in high summer.
Poetry

Poet Sam Burt explores fire as a metaphor in this poem.
by Sam Burt
Photography

For this issue, our regular contributor focused his camera on two butterfly species and a quartet of "Birds of the Prairie."
Photography

This photographer, used to taking pictures of the crowded streetscapes of home, tries his hand at the prairie.
Digital Art

It's a deceptively simple question. Our associate editor created an infographic to provide the not-so-simple answer.
by Cecilia Bergman
Review

The Pines' music is as rooted in their prairie home as a field of coneflowers. Read our reviewer's thoughts, then give a listen.
by Kelly Hansen Maher
Collaboration

"Ekphrasis" denotes a poem about a strong visual. See if you think these poems, paired with the drawings which inspired them, fit the bill.
by Ben and Therese Brosseau
Short story

In the face of so much gun violence, how can a lover of guns respond? Read this short-story for an answer.
by Sandy Moffett
Mixed-media

For her installation, "Cure," this Iowa-based artist combined deer bones and gold leaf to compelling effect.
Drawings

This artist looked in an unlikely place for inspiration: the specimens collection of a college biology department.
Photography

In this issue, our regular contributor turned to one of his smaller subjects: Asters.
Photography

Our regular contributor focused his camera on a white tail buck, a squirrel, and--as ever--on four Birds of the Prairie.
Drawings

A drawing of dried prairie flowers by the artist whose work we featured in Volume II, Issue 1
Photography

This photographer's images explore the tension between people and the land they inhabit.
Essay

Urban gardens need pollinators, but where do the bees come from amid all that concrete? Enter Jana Kinsman.
by Sara Arena
Dance

The nationwide celebration of our waterways comes to the prairie.
Poetry

This Midwest expat, living now in D.C., turns back in her poetry to her Minnesota roots.
by Michelle Harris-Love
Poetry

Calling herself "an embodiment of diversity in human, walking, talking form," this poet knows identity is both belonging and estrangement.
by Stephanie Snow
Editor's note

This Washington State native discusses the way the prairie got past her skepticism and carved itself into her heart and mind.
by Madeline Warnick
Personal essay

Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander lives in a converted country schoolhouse. She decided a schoolhouse needs a bell, and a belltower.
by Mary Swander
Editor's note

Our other editor for this issue, a native of New York state, also unlearned many of her prejudices before she came to treasure the prairie.
by Emma Thomasch
Essay

What's an East Coast transplant to do when she doesn't feel she fits in the Midwest? Fill a car with friends and hit the road.
by Tracy Harris
Photography

This photographer's images of the living prairie move easily from the micro to the macro.
Personal essay

An anthropologist meditates on his relationship to these slow residents of the prairie.
by John C. Whittaker
Poetry

Roadtrips aren't just fodder for travelogues, as this poet shows us. They produce poems, too.
by Stephanie L. Harper
Photography

This nature photographer provided us with the perfect photographs to accompany John Whittaker's personal essay.
Essay

Grief is this writer's companion as he drives from Red Wing, Minnesota, to Minneapolis.
by Damian Johansson
Essay

In Toledo, Iowa, a venerable old theatre was a place for townspeople to restore their spirits. Now they're returning the favor.
by Abigail Evans
Photography

This retired teacher spends time in a much larger classroom these days, as his picture demonstrates.
by John Clayton
Personal essay

Mary Swander's Amish neighbor, Joe, places her new belltower over the entryway of her Amish schoolhouse/home.
by Mary Swander
Poetry

This California poet's work speaks to a Midwest Spring.
by Fabrice Poussin
Essay

Where can you find the essential Iowa? Not in a single place, as this writer found, on the road with his father and a van full of friends.
by Colin Lewis-Beck
Essay

In this essay, a Georgia-based writer shares her introduction to the prairie's wild beauty.
by Mariah Manoylov
Poetry

The poet confers a Spring blessing on one of the prairie's humblest--and most necessary--residents.
by Ethan Kenvarg
Poetry

Fire, starlight, and the green, growing world are the preoccupations of our issue's third poet, as reflected in these two poems.
by Clare Jones
Personal essay

With the bell and belltower in place, Mary Swander can summon the neighbor children for pie...
by Mary Swander
Poetry

A room isn't just space in a house; it's a state of mind, as this poem reminds us.
by Taylor Greene
Essay

Our first contributor from Canada tells how a piece of prairie history was preserved in northern Alberta.
by Jennifer Mueller
Local History

Anthropologist Don Janzen examines his own background in his essay about his father's homesteading childhood in early 20th century Kansas.
by Don Janzen
Local History

How could a hunk of rock buried on a college campus have so much history attached to it? This woodworker/amateur historian tells us.
by Byron Hueftle-Worley
Essay

When you move into an old house in a small town, you inherit that house's history and, sometimes, its former residents.
by Sam Pérez
Memoir

When this Minnesota writer's family farm became a regional park, she kept her family memories.
by Michele Brennhofer
Photography

Keith Kozloff discovered a trove of his old black-and-white negatives from the 1970s in an old shoe box. Take a look at this selection.
by Keith Kozloff
Poetry

This poet turns to a pair of Iowa icons--a Grant Wood painting and the quadaennial caucuses--to evoke the quiet behind the image.
by Bill Graeser
Podcast

Audio producers Noah Herbin and Eva Gemrich interview University of Iowa Prof David Osterberg about CAFOs.
by Audio producers Noah Herbin and Eva Gemrich
Essay

A small-town restaurant is where the local foods movement gets real.
by Ann P. Hall
Drawings

To catch the expressive way prairie flowers reach for the sky, Madeline Howland prefers the simplest tools: graphite and a sketchbook.
Music review

Our reviewer covers a Spring concert by Iowa folk music royalty Pieta Brown.
by Kelly Hansen Maher
Photography

This Twin-cities photographer looked south for the images in this Closeup, to the small Iowa town of Belomond.
Poetry

The word "gnosis" denotes the study of spiritual mysteries, which this poet recognizes in the sky, in the land, in the eyes of love.
by Stephanie Snow
Music

An Iowa writer, musician and dramatist captures the plight of many small prairie towns in this song.
Photography

Our new contributor is a high school biology instructor who teaches to travel, travels to teach, and takes his camera along.
Photography

Our frequent contributor's lens found Keokuk's iconic power station on the Mississippi River for this issue.
Photography

This first-time contributor's photo makes use of a familiar Midwestern setting: the shorn cornfield.
Photography

John Lawrence Hanson contributed a photo to this issue. We ran his essay "Obedience and Resistance" in Volume III, Issue 2, Spring 2017.
Personal essay

While writer Betty Moffett's husband Sandy works at prairie restoration, she cultivates a different kind of relationship with the land.
by Betty Moffett
Photography

Two of our perrenial contributor's images focus on two types of migration in this issue: human and wildlife.
Photography

This issue's table of contents is backdropped by this new contributor's image of a perfect prairie day.