Travelin' man 


Jim Powell William Least Heat-Moon creates
Literature Jim Powell William Least Heat-Moon creates thoroughly original prose within the broad boundaries of a genre we might call “the American travelogue.” These journal-like records — and there are thousands of them published across our history — explore the country’s persona and as they do so, reveal the writer’s. His trilogy of travel, Blue Highways, PrairyErth and River-Horse, exposes Heat-Moon’s writerly character as an occasionally cursing critic when frustrated at pollution or contemporary city planners, but otherwise an even and patient observer, respectful of the land, the folk who inhabit it and the quirkiness of both. On its cross-country trip via waterways, River-Horse passes through the Indiana of the Ohio River. Over-nighting in Madison, the author lives through a bit of ghost story about an antique doll: “The bluff caught the high night wind and moved the curtains into wandering shadows that crossed the room back and forth, back and forth, and they whispered from the dim corners where they went to hide when the currents ceased; then the air stirred, and out they came again to slip over the old crib, ruffle the coverlet, caress the pallid blind head …” The next day, near Jeffersonville, a storm finds his crew’s small boat: “ … the chop turned to three foot swells, and we crested and dropped … The foudroyant sky overtook us, and the bolts began spiking the horizon, each one seeming to zap down closer and again we could hardly hear each other.” Offering what the organizers describe as “a conversation on nonfiction writing, deep geography and finding your next adventure,” William Least Heat-Moon will appear April 24, 7:30 p.m., reading in Butler University’s Delbrook Visiting Writers Series, in the Robertson Hall Johnson Room. The event is free.

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