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Scholarship on James Hearst

This page details published writings in which James Hearst is the primary focus or his work and/or life is a significant part of the text. 

Anderson, Mary. “A Literary Collage of Rural Life.” Journal of Research in Rural Education, vol. 10, no. 2, Fall 1994, pp.122-125.
Three of Hearst’s poems–“Logician,” “The New Calf” and “Truth”–are foregrounded in this pedagogical article on the role of country schools and farm life in delineating a distinct rural experience.

Andrews, Clarence. “Iowa Literary History, 1971-1991.” Books at Iowa, vol. 56, no. 1, 1992, 47-58. Accessed 28 December 2017.
In this essay, written as a supplement to Andrews’s A Literary History of Iowa (1971), Hearst is celebrated as “Iowa’s best poet to date.”

Baker, Thomas L. “Reading and Writing: The Autobiographical Connection.” Journal of Adventist Education, April/May 2006. pp. 48-50.
This pedagogical article details the experience of using Hearst’s collection of autobiographical essays, Time Like a Furrow, as a model for memoir writing in a high school English class.

Burns, E. Bradford. Kinship With the Land: Regionalist Thought in Iowa, 1894-1942. University of Iowa Press, 1996.
This book-length study of Iowa regionalism offers an intellectual history of Iowa's specific role in midwestern thought, focusing specifically on writers, artists and intellectuals who helped to created an Iowa-specific sense of place. Hearst's writing are referenced frequently throughout this study, and Burns pays particular attention to the publication history of Country Men, which is deemed a "regional masterpiece." Two of Hearst's poems—"The Grail" & "When a Neighbor Dies"—are reproduced in full.

Carey, Michael. Foreword. The Good Earth: Three Poets of the Prairie, by Paul Engle, William Stafford and James Hearst. Ice Cube Press, 2004, 7-13.
Carey looks for commonality in three very different poetic voices, finding that their plain-spoken approach conveys honesty. Carey discusses Hearst's "Truth."

Cawelti, Scott. "James Hearst: Iowa's Poetic Voice of Frustration and Elation." The Good Earth: Three Poets of the Prairie, by Paul Engle, William Stafford and James Hearst. Ice Cube Press, 2004. 49-51. 
Cawelti notes the range of Hearst’s poetic interests from joy to disappointment. Cawelti discusses “Malicious Spirit of Machines,” “Threat of Violence” and “Blind With Rainbows.”

---. "Editor's Preface." The Complete Poetry of James Hearst, edited by Scott Cawelti. University of Iowa Press, 2001, xxxiii-xxxvii.
Cawelti discusses Hearst's creative process, referencing the poems "Protest" and "Statement."

Evans, David Allan. “Plow It and Find Out: Midwestern American Poetry.” South Dakota Review, vol. 41, nos. 1-2, Spring/Summer 2003, pp. 33-41.
This article aims to determine what distinct features are to be found in the work of midwestern poets. The article title comes from a line in Hearst’s poem, “Truth,” which is analyzed as part of this piece.

Hadden, Theodore. “James Hearst: The Poetry of an Iowa Farmer.” in Late Harvest: Plains and Prairie Poets, ed. by Robert Killoren, BKMK Press, 1997. 
Hadden attempts to bring the work of James Hearst into a larger conversation among critics, stating his opinion that Hearst has been neglected by many critics, despite his output of work and the quality of his poetry. Favorably comparing Hearst to Frost (a contemporary and even friend of Hearst himself), Hadden provides a critical reading of several of Hearst’s poems, including “The New Calf,” “Regional” and “The Farmer’s Season.” He identifies Hearst’s use of personal experiences in his poetry, as well as the regional quality of many of his poems but does not find this to be a deficiency or something that should disqualify Hearst from further study. Additionally, Hadden examines such themes as the experience of love, nostalgia for a forgotten past, and even the use of humor in a number of poems in order to assert that Hearst’s work has depths that have not yet been fully examined by critics of poetry but that must be given their due.

Huber, Mary. “James Hearst.” The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. State Historical Society of Iowa, 2008. pp. 224-26.
This encyclopedia-style entry presents a concise biography of James Hearst, focusing on his early years and the major milestones in his literary career.

O'Loughlin, Jim and Jordan Lea Ludwig. "The Midwest Below Me: James Hearst's Poetry and Prose." Pieces of the Heartland: Representing Midwestern Places, ed. by Andy Oler, Hastings University Press, 2018, pp. 39-51.
This article examines Hearst's ambivalence about regionalism. While he proudly defined himself as a midwesterner, he was unwilling to allow his work be understood as provincial in scope. Hearst's works considered in this article include "Voices," "Sense of Order," "Where We Live," "Consider a Poem," "Each to Its Own Purpose," "Truth" and the essay collection Time Like a Furrow.

O’Loughlin, Jim. “James Hearst: ‘I’ve done what I can.’” North American Review, vol. 299, no. 1, Spring 2014, pp. 52. Rpt. in North American Review, vol. 302, no. 5, September 2017, pp. 36.
O’Loughlin offers an account of Hearst’s poetic productivity and attitude toward publication based on an interpretation of Hearst as a differently-abled writer.

Pals, Brian. “James Hearst’s Unreconstructed Regionalism.” North American Review. 30 October 2014, Accessed 28 December 2017.
Pals offers a nuanced interpretation of “Snake in the Strawberries,” one of Hearst’s more elusive poems.

Paluka, Frank. “James Hearst.” Iowa Writers: A Bio-bibliography of Sixty Native Writers. Iowa City: Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1967. pp. 165-66.
This encyclopedia-style entry focuses on Hearst’s biography and lists the locations of several of his publication to date.

Price, Nancy. "An Introduction to James Hearst." The Complete Poetry of James Hearst, edited by Scott Cawelti. University of Iowa Press, 2001, xxix-xxxii.
Price, a novelist and former Hearst student, offers short biographical account of Hearst's life and how it influenced his poetry. Poems discussed include "Seventy Times Seven" and "The Hunter."

Sage, Leland L. “Iowa Writers and Painters: An Historical Survey.” The Annals of Iowa, vol. 42 no. 4, 1974, pp. 241-270.
Sage offers an overview of Hearst’s life and writings to date, crediting him as one of “the major Iowa poets” (along with Arthur Davison Ficke and Paul Engle).

Sears, Jeffry. “A Robert Frost of the Middlewest?” SSML Newsletter, vol. 19, no. 2, Summer 1989, pp. 18-27.
This well-research article offers an overview of the friendship and literary connection of James Hearst and Robert Frost.  However, Sears does more than simply document. He aims to account for both the correspondences between the work of the two poets while noting where they departed, both personally and professionally.

---. "The Death of James Hearst." Farmer's Market, vol. 3, no. 2, Spring/Summer 1986, pp. 20-24.
This essay, written shortly after James Hearst's death, celebrates his life. Despite enduring difficult circumstances over the course of his life, Hearst was the "archetypal survivor." This article discusses and is accompanied by the following poems: "Winter Reverie," "The Hurt of Pleasure," and "Not the Day to Listen." "The Death of James Hearst" was nominated by Farmer's Market for the General Electric Younger Writers Award in nonfiction.

---. “Who Was James Hearst? The Eulogy I Never Gave.” The Great Lakes Review, vol. 9/10, nos. 2/1, Fall 1983–Spring 1984, pp. 28-30.
This personal remembrance offers both an appreciation of James Hearst the man and an interpretation of James Hearst the poet. Sears writes admiringly of Hearst’s quiet tenacity and productivity, noting that he published work in Poetry magazine in five different decades.

---. "The Third Audience." Poet & Critic, vol. 13, no. 2, 1982 (Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa), pp. 8-11.
Sears' essay discusses James Hearst's poetry and how it is accessible to "the third audience," or readers outside of literary and academic circles, while also being valued by those within the literary and academic community. His poetry is read easily by those that seek it out because of its authenticity, realistic detail, and ordinary language. The essay discusses and is accompanied by the following poems: "Taking the Bull to Water," "Not the Last Goodbye," "Not Really a Quarrel," "The Weed Cutter," and "Balance Sheet."

Ward, Robert. “James Hearst.” Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Volume 1: The Authors. Ed. by Phillip A. Greasley. Indiana UP, 2001. pp. 253.
This is reference-style, brief overview of Hearst’s work and literary significance.