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Leslie VonHolten

Leslie VonHolten

HPPR Radio Readers Book Club Contributor

Leslie VonHolten explores and writes about connections between land and culture and particularly on the prairie spaces she loves to walk. Her works have been published or are forthcoming in The New Territory, Literary Landscapes, About Place Journal, Dark Mountain Project, and Lawrence.com, among other sites. Leslie has served as a board member for the Garden of Eden art environment in Lucas, Kansas; was a founding member of the Percolator Artspace in Lawrence, Kansas; and has been a book commentator for High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, Kansas, since 2015. She was honored with a Tallgrass Artist Residency in 2022. (https://leslievonholten.com/ or https://tallgrassartistresidency.org/leslie-vonholten/ and Matfield Green Works https://matfieldgreen.org/ )

  • This is Leslie VonHolten from the High Plains of Kansas with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.Here on the High Plains, we can forget that some folks live lives separated from animals. I have two dogs, which I am obsessed with, and every so often my work finds me on a gravel road, chatting it up with curious cattle gathered along a fence line.
  • This is Leslie VonHolten with another Radio Readers Book Byte.Radio Readers listeners will know that I absolutely am not a science fiction reader. The minute someone time travels, or gets on a spaceship, or has a conversation with some other kind of sentient life force not from Earth—well, I am out. No thank you.
  • This is Leslie VonHolten from the High Plains of Kansas with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.At night, Theo and his young son Robin, the main characters of Bewilderment by Richard Powers, travel through the outer reaches of known space with their imaginations.
  • “The world is too much with us; late and soon,Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—Little we see in Nature that is ours;We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!...”
  • The second book in our “Wisdom of the Natural World” reading series looks to the sky above us—and the mysteries within us. Bewilderment by Richard Powers is a powerful, deeply felt novel, and one of the most beautiful and heart-rending books I have ever read. Ever.
  • This is Leslie VonHolten in Kansas with another HPPR Radio Readers BookByte.Robin Wall Kimmerer’s writing is a gift. Throughout her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, her prose gracefully, and comfortably, connects the many strands of her perspective: from her work as a biologist to her worldview formed by her Indigenous heritage, her overall love and affection for the natural world resonates throughout her book.
  • My summer reading recommendation is not a book, but a magazine—which is also, in so many ways, a community. The New Territory calls itself “an autobiography of the Lower Midwest,”—the Lower Midwest being Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Northwest Arkansas, Southern Illinois, and Iowa. But in their words, quote, “When it feels right, we color outside those border lines.”
  • “What do we do with the art of monstrous men?” Author Claire Dederer made waves with her essay asking that question in the Paris Review in 2017. It has been a perennial problem in modern and contemporary art and has been especially uncomfortable since the #MeToo movement.
  • Once Were Warriors is a brutal story of a Maori family living in poverty in New Zealand. The author, Alan Duff, is also Maori, and he spent part of his childhood in low-income housing.
  • This is Leslie VonHolten with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.What to make of this tough book by Tsitsi Dangarembga.