Literary Nebraska

English 211: Literature and Place, or "Literary Nebraska", our first online literary studies course about Nebraska’s literary history and culture from its earliest days to the present.

Writers and scholars provide a broad historical survey that examines:

  • the works of some of the state’s most famous authors such as Willa Cather and Ted Kooser
  • key voices such as Black Elk (with John Neihardt), Mari Sandoz, and Malcolm X
  • contemporary writing from faculty such as Jennine Capó Crucet, Jonis Agee, and Kwame Dawes

Admitted UNL students via MyRed   Nebraska Now high school students

Guy Reynolds

Week 1

“Nebraskan Realisms: Life and Fiction, Document and Invention”
Guy Reynolds introduces Literary Nebraska.

Unit 1: Nebraska Lives (Autobiography)

Week 2

Acclaimed author John Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks is the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk and his people during the early years of the nineteenth century.

Matt Cohen and Tom Gannon

Presented by

Matt Cohen and Tom Gannon

Black Elk and John Neihardt

Week 3

Loren Eiseley, a native of Lincoln, became internationally recognized as one of the most influential nature writers of the 20th century.

Tom Lynch

Presented by

Tom Lynch

Loren Eiseley

Week 4

Malcolm Little, Malcolm X, El-Hajj, Malik El-Shabazz - just who was this man from Omaha who made several life transitions across lines of family and politics, activism, and religion?

Kwakiutl Dreher

Presented by

Kwakiutl Dreher

Malcolm X

Week 5

Tillie Olsen was an internationally prominent writer revered by many women who were trying to develop women’s studies and research on women in the early 20th century.

Linda Pratt

Presented by

Linda Pratt

Tillie Olsen

Week 6

Jennine Capó Crucet is a Cuban American novelist, professor, and contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Her essays cover her predominantly Cuban-American hometown of Hialeah, Florida.

Joy Castro

Presented by

Joy Castro

Jennine Capo Crucet

Unit 2: Nebraska Stories (Fiction)

Week 7

Willa Cather was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and an alumna renowned for her work—which  includes her complicated relationship with Nebraska. 

Melissa Homestead

Presented by

Melissa Homestead

Willa Cather

Week 8

On Newberry Award-winning author Mari Sandoz and her 1960 novel, Son of the Gamblin’ Man, the story of John J. Cozad—founder of the namesake city—and his son, artist Robert Henri.

Laura White

Presented by

Laura White

Mari Sandoz

Week 9

The legacy of Ervin Krause's work. In 1963, his short story “Anniversary” was deemed obscene and denied publication in The Prairie Schooner.

Tim Schaffert

Presented by

Tim Schaffert

Ervin Krause

Week 10

How does Jonis Agee’s novel Strange Angels fit in the context of her decorated career and education, and how did her Midwestern roots influence her work?

Rachel Cochran

Presented by
Rachel Cochran

Jonis Agee

Unit 3: Nebraska Poems

Week 11

Orsamus Charles Dake, Nebraska’s first published poet, was one of the first five faculty members at the University of Nebraska in 1871. How faith, politics, and tragedy influenced his work.

Steve Behrendt

Presented by
Steve Behrendt

Charles Dake

Week 12

How William Kloefkorn, Twyla Hanson, and now Matt Mason have impacted the role of State Poet.

Robert Brooke

Presented by

Robert Brooke

Twyla Henson, William Kloefkorn, Matt Mason

Week 13

Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser is known for his conversational style of poetry.

Kwame Dawes

Presented by

Kwame Dawes

Ted Kooser

Week 14

Explore the work of poets and emeriti professors Hilda Raz and Grace Bauer and its impact on the faculty and students of the university.

Hope Wabuke

Presented by

Hope Wabuke

Hilda Raz and Grace Bauer

Unit 4: Nebraska in Popular Culture

Week 15

Discover the innovative, creative work of graphic novelist Chris Ware of Omaha, Nebraska who has been featured in the Whitney Museum, PBS, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, and The Prairie Schooner

Richard Graham

Presented by

Richard Graham

Chris Ware