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On Common Ground

On Common Ground: Learning and Living in the Loess Hills | Ryan Allen & Brian T. Hazlett (editors) | Isbn 9781948509459 | 242 pages | $24.95 | Color with photographs & gate-fold | Order Early | Release: August, 2023

On Common Ground is an exciting multidisciplinary, multimodal project and partnership between the arts and sciences. This convergence of writers, naturalists, artists, and various –ologists took place in the fall of 2021 in the northern Loess Hills. These hills form a narrow band along the eastern edge of the Missouri River floodplain for approximately 200 miles, stretching much of the Iowa border. Sculpted from the deepest deposits of wind-borne glacial silt in the United States, these Hills remain home to a significant collection, both in size and number, of Iowa’s remnant prairies.

On Common Ground represents opportunity and potential—for discovery, for understanding, and for growth. The poet Joseph Brodsky writes, “Geography blended with time equals destiny.” At the soul of this project are fundamental questions: What can literature and visual images bring that science cannot? What can science show us about the Hills that the arts appear to miss?

The essays, poetry, photographs, and sketches in this collection represent the shared pursuit of this understanding and a commitment to our collective cause: to better understand the land and our relationship to it, and how this informs our identity and purpose. On Common Ground is the next step and model on how we can best learn about a place when people connect—with themselves, one another, and the natural world.

Contributors include John T. Price, Dan O’Brien, Connie Mutel, Patrick Hicks, Vincent Miller, Melanie Krieps Mergen, Norma Wilson, Kristen Drahos, Jim Helfers, Aric Michael Ping, Daryl Smith, William M. Zales, Mike Langley, Jerry Wilson, Nan Wilson, and Scott R. Moats. Includes a foreword by James Schaap.