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Class learning about Illinois literature

Barry McNamara
04/15/2010
Students in Monmouth College’s “Home Is Where the Heartland Is” class – a 100-level English course taught by lecturer Kevin Roberts – have been learning about local literature and music throughout the spring semester. That process will continue next week with a field trip and a special appearance on campus by independent scholar John Lynn of Peoria.

“We have read ‘Spoon River Anthology’ by Edgar Lee Masters and various pieces by Carl Sandburg,” said Roberts. “On April 19, we will be visiting the actual cemetery in Lewistown which was the inspiration for the anthology, and we’ll be stopping at the Sandburg house in Galesburg. If time permits, we’ll stop at some small towns along the way near the Spoon River.”

On April 21, the class, which meets at 1 p.m. in the Barnes Electronic Classroom in Hewes Library, will hear from Lynn, who has hiked, bicycled or canoed nearly 25,000 miles of historic and scenic trails, roads and rivers in North America and the British Isles. His colorful slide presentations that describe his experiences have “gotten him into over 3,600 lecture halls, classrooms and other such places where he might not have otherwise been invited.”

Lynn’s “Main Street Illinois” program is a special tour through the histories, traditions and personalities of the cities and towns of Illinois led by the only person who has ever been to all 2,400 of them. Lynn says he’s made his travels “armed with a degree in history from the University of Illinois, a special rapport with dogs and raccoons, and a taste for grilled cheese sandwiches.”

Lynn’s talk on campus is free and open to the public.