The Death of the Midwest: Garrison Keillor’s Impending Retirement as a Wake for Midwestern Regionalism

25 Jul

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

In the first paragraph on the first page of his first book, in the wind-up for a tale about a private eye (not Guy Noir) who shakes down tycoons for grant money to bestow upon artists, Garrison Keillor alludes to what would be his central significance to American letters. His hero, the grizzled sleuth Jack Schmidt, is returning to Minneapolis after “two days attending a conference on Midwestern regionalism.” The story is sly and meandering and funny and typifies Keillor and his 40 years of story-writing and story-telling and there, prominently on display in the opening scene of his first book, is the key to Keillor’s place in American culture: Midwestern regionalism. It’s a dying art form and, with Keillor’s contemplation of retirement, its final passing may be imminent. (Keillor announced he was retiring in 2013, but later changed his mind.)

So begins a fine essay on Garison Keillor and…

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One Response to “The Death of the Midwest: Garrison Keillor’s Impending Retirement as a Wake for Midwestern Regionalism”

  1. Amber Backes (@amberbackes) July 27, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    I found Garrison Keller while at Northwestern and have carried him with me through my travels. He has kept me connected to my Midwestern heritage. It will be hard to see him go much the same as when the Car Talk brothers had to choose to stop. There is an emptiness left on Saturday morning that replays can not fill.

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