A Map of Voices:

The Knox Writers’ House



It started with a poem, a belief in the magic of a story read aloud, and a dream that the writing all around us could be available to anyone with access to a computer, that artists’ voices could deliver their work directly to the ear of anyone who would listen. We began recording our friends, but quickly grew hungrier.

    In the summer of 2010, we (Emily Oliver, Sam Conrad, and Bryce Parsons-Twesten) drove more than 3,000 miles and recorded hours of audiothe poems, stories, essays, and interviews of nearly one hundred writers from Chicago to Madison to the Twin Cities to Kalamazoo to St. Louis to Kansas City. We covered the Midwest and sought to discover where writing lives. We were out to help cities listen to themselves, to understand how place influences art, and how that art changes depending on origin, on audience, on influence. We asked writers to introduce themselves and their communities, then to trace the path they took to arrive at their here. We asked how location imprints their art and what the landscapes are like where they live; we asked how they interact with art on a daily basis and what it means for them to live in Chicago, to know poets in Kalamazoo, to have grown up in New York. We continued these trips, and the following winter, we travelled many more miles, going south to New Orleans, east to Atlanta, further east to New York, New Haven, Providence.

    We came home to Galesburg, Illinois, where we set to work mapping our journeys. Here, as we build that map, city by city, you will discover what we found. Click around to find who lives where, who’s writing what, and who’s reading who. If you’re a writer and you’re interested in being recorded and added to the map, please write to us. If you know a writer interested in being recorded and added to the map, please write to us. If you like what we’re doing and want to support the life of this project, please write to us. This map of voices owes great thanks to Knox College’s McNair and Ford Fellowships, the Richter Grant fund, the Knox College Faculty Development Program supported through the Mellon Foundation, the tireless and inimitable Monica Berlin, and the hospitality of those who generously offered us their work and their time. 

The Knox Writers’ House

c/o Monica Berlin

2 East South Street

Box 123

Galesburg, IL 61401