Tables of contents for
Western American Literature

  • Testimonials

    I can't overstate the importance of WLA to my career. I felt so welcomed as a graduate student that WLA has become my intellectual home.
    Nancy Cook
    Associate Professor, English Department, University of Montana, Missoula

Posts Tagged ‘literature of the American West’

Tables of contents for
Western American Literature

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

We have compiled all the tables of contents for Western American Literature, from its beginning in 1966 until the present. This compilation allows you to search all our old issues. Due to the length of the document (it includes every book review ever published in WAL!), we had to cut it into several pieces. Sorry for the inconvenience. Nonetheless, we hope you’ll find this a helpful research tool! And please let us know if you come upon spelling errors.

If you are interested in using any essays printed in Western American Literature in a course pack for your class, click on the “permissions requests” graphic:


TOC Spring 1966–Winter 1977

TOC Spring 1977–Winter 1985

TOC Spring 1985–Winter 1991

TOC Spring 1991–Winter 2005

TOC Spring 2005–Winter 2010

TOC Spring 2010–Winter 2014

TOC Spring 2014–Present

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Western American Literature

WLA Conference 2017

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

52nd WLA Conference


WLA Co-Presidents for 2017 will be Professors Susan Maher, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Florence Amamoto, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN.

Sue Maher    Florence Amamoto 

The PROGRAM is available and up to date in ConfTool. Please log yourself into ConfTool: Then click on “Browse Conference Agenda” (3rd item from the top).

You can also view an updated version of the PRINTED PROGRAM and download it. This version is computer-friendly and will load quickly.

Featured This Year:

Rick Shiomi has been involved in Asian American theater for over thirty-five years, as a playwright, director and artistic director.  He received the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist Award in 2015, the Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012 and the Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Vision in 2007. He has written over twenty plays, including the award winning Yellow Fever. He was a co-founder of Mu Performing Arts and the artistic director from 1993 to 2013. He has directed for Mu Performing Arts, InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, Theatre Esprit Asia in Denver and the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. For Mu, he directed Into The Woods set in Asia, The Mikado set in Edwardian England and Yellow Face at the Dowling Studio of the Guthrie Theater. For Interact Theatre he directed Caught by Christopher Chen in 2014 for which he received a Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Direction. He played taiko for thirty years and was the founder (in 1997) and the leader of Mu Daiko until 2010. He recently received a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant to develop Asian American theater in Philadelphia and he is currently the co-artistic director of Full Circle Theater in Minnesota.


Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Stearns County, Minnesota. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View, won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize; Coming Back to the Body was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, and Naming the Stars won a Minnesota Book Award in Poetry.  She is one of the co-editors of To Sing Along the Way, an award winning anthology of Minnesota women poets. Her recent collection, Modern Love & Other Myths (2015), was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Her ninth collection of poetry, The Green House (2017), has just been published. She is the second Minnesota Poet Laureate, succeeding Robert Bly.



Linda LeGarde Grover is a member of the Bois Forte band of Ojibwe and associate professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has received the Native Writers Circle of the Americas First Book Award, the Flannery O’Connor Award, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, whose previous recipients include Ann Patchett, Anne Tyler, and Toni Morrison.


Kevin Kling is a well-known playwright and storyteller and a popular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. Kevin was born with a congenital birth defect which left him with partial use of his left arm and in 2001 was in a motorcycle accident that left him with no use of his right arm. Yet he has continued to turn all of his life experiences into stories that are hilarious but also poignant and wise. He has released a number of compact disc collections of his stories as well as published several books of his stories and plays. He has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships, and in 2014, Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak named Kevin “Minneapolis Story Laureate.” PBS made a documentary about Kevin titled Kevin Kling: Lost and Found.


Kao Kalia Yang is a writer from the Hmong community. She’s the author of the award-winning books The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet. Yang is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University. She’s currently working on her fictional debute, Descendants of Bad Luck Women. 





Will Weaver grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and from Stanford University. His debut novel, Red Earth, White Earth, was published by Simon & Schuster and was produced as a CBS television movie. A Gravestone Made of Wheat & Other Stories won the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. T

he New York Times Book Review called it “…a graceful collection, one that views America’s heartland with a candid but charit

able eye.” The title story was adapted into the film Sweet Land.

A versatile writer, Will Weaver’s novels for young adults include Memory Boy (HarperCollins), which was a 2016 full-stage production of the Minnesota Opera. His nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Last Hunter, and Barns of Minnesota. A recent judge for the National Book Awards, Mr. Weaver lives in Bemidji, Minnesota, on the Mississippi River.


Heid E. Erdrich is a poet, writer, and filmmaker. She is the author of five books of poetry including National Monuments, which won a 2009 Minnesota Book Award, and most recently Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media (2017). Her nonfiction book, Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, earned a City Pages Best Food Book of 2014 designation.  She is the founding publisher of Wiigwaas Press, an Ojibwe language publisher and she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program at Augsburg College. She is Ojibwa, enrolled at Turtle Mountain.


The Erik Koskinen Band will entertain you at our traditional dance after the banquet. Musically sprouted from a blend of American folk, country, rock’n’roll, and blues, Erik Koskinen and his top-shelf band realize a sound that is distinctive and fresh while familiar and classic. Koskinen’s albums are a lyrical and musical metaphor of America’s theaters of war, of history, of relationships, and of the reflections in the mirror. Knowing but not didactic, Koskinen channels the ways of Whitman and reverently enters the anthology of uniquely crafted wry songs with the likes of Woody Guthrie and Ry Cooder while speaking as plainly as your neighbor.



6 October 2017

Dear 2017 WLA conference participants:

Boozhoo!  A final pre-conference greeting from your co-Presidents.  We are
excited about the program, which we have just sent to the printer, and look
forward to seeing all of you!  If you would like to see the program, it is
available online at

Here is some last minute information:

In case you need the hotel information:  The conference is at the
Marriott—City Center.  The address is 30 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN
55402 and the phone number is 612-349-4000.  

Important Announcement:  If you need AV, please remember to bring your laptop.
If you have a Mac, you will need to bring a dongle.  The breakout rooms will
have projectors but not sound systems.  If you need sound, you will need to
bring computer speakers.

Ground transportation:  Maps and transportation information is available at and at the maps and
transportation link for the Marriott City Center:
.  From the airport, you can take the Blue Line (transit system) to the
Nicollet Mall stop; the hotel is 0.1 miles West.  There is no hotel shuttle
but you can take the Super Shuttle ($16 one way; reservations required,  Estimated taxi fare is $50 one way.
Minneapolis also has Uber and Lyft.  

If you have not yet registered, you need to do so immediately.  If you are
signing up for meals, please note that there is a choice of entrees for the
Past President’s Lunch, the Grad Student Lunch, and the banquet.  If you
want to attend any of the meals, you need to sign up and indicate your entrée
choice soon because the hotel needs a count.  

If you want to be considered for the Willa Pilla (for best humorous paper
presented at the conference), please contact Sue Maher (

We will have a list of activities to explore in the Twin Cities in your packet
and another on our conference app Conference4Me which you will be able to
download from the various app stores closer to the conference; an announcement
will be posted on Facebook once it is up and running.  The hotel also has a
list on their website.  Minneapolis maps will also be in your packet.  

Your packet will also contain a list of restaurants arranged by distance from
the hotel.  The hotel also is attached to the Skyway system so there are
inexpensive breakfast and lunch options there.  There are Starbucks and
Caribou (the local coffee chain) coffee shops near the hotel, for instance.
To get some idea of the offerings in the Skyway, check out:

Let us know if you have further questions.  The panels look fantastic and we
have a terrific roster of speakers and musicians lined up for you.  We just
hope that the weather cooperates!

Miigwech!  We are looking forward to seeing you in Minneapolis soon!

Your co-Prezes,  Florence and Sue

6 July 2017

Dear WLA Presenters and Members:

Boozhoo! Hello from the land of 10,000 lakes!

Registration for the WLA 2017 conference in the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, MN is now open! Early registration ends September 20, 2017, so please try to save yourselves some money!  Note to registrants: guest status means spouse, partner, sibling, grandparent—anyone coming along to be your cheerleader or to enjoy the Twin Cities while you are involved with WLA business. Guest status does not refer to a WLA member who is not presenting a paper.

We are excited to be welcoming you to beautiful Minnesota, a landscape that was first inhabited over 12,000 years ago by the ancestors of our many Native communities. The mighty mythic Mississippi owes its creation to the last Ice Age, and you will be able to explore its banks and falls while visiting Minneapolis. Fort Snelling , built in 1819 as Fort Saint Anthony as one of the first western military outposts, is now a National Historic Site and worth a visit while you attend WLA. The West of WLA begins on the west banks of the Mississippi, and we have a program of nearly 300 presentations to enrich your minds and expand your vision of western North American writers, playwrights, filmmakers, storytellers, poets, and scholars. 

We encourage you to come in time for our Wednesday evening kickoff, which features two Minnesota treasures—Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen and storyteller Kevin Kling—to get you feeling Minnesota. Other featured writers are Will Weaver, Linda LeGarde Grover, and Heid Erdrich.  Our Distinguished Achievement Award recipient playwright Rick Shiomi will be bringing some actors. We will be announcing an amazing band shortly that adds to the celebration of Minnesota greats!

You can begin your registration process at

Our conference hotel is the Marriott City Center in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Reservations must be made by 26 September 2017 or until the block is full to assure the conference room rate of $150/night. Our group rate is available 3 days prior to and 3 days following the dates of our conference based on availability. When making your reservation, inform the reservation agent that you are receiving the Western Literature Association group rate for your visit. Reservations can be made at:  or  877-303-0104.

Once again, WLA has contracted with United Airlines for a 5% discount for WLA members. United has numerous domestic and international flights to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport daily. For your discount, please book online at Use the code ZY5Y175071. MSP also serves all major North American airlines.

We will send ground transportation information later this summer. Travel to and from the airport is easy via light rail. Amtrak also arrives and departs from the beautifully restored Union Station in St. Paul. Light rail then provides ground transportation into downtown Minneapolis as well. Many of you are Uber and Lyfft customers and have that option as well.

We are hard at work on the conference program. As soon as the first program draft is completed, we will put it on the conference website and alert all participants via ConfTool. Please note your two deadlines: September 20, 2017 for early conference registration and September 26, 2017 for your guaranteed hotel group rate.

Miigwech, thank you, WLA colleagues! We look forward to serving as your hosts to the 52nd Annual Conference of the Western Literature Association, 25-28 October 2017.

Your co-presidents,

Florence Amamoto (
Susan Maher (


Reminder:  If you want your conference paper considered for the Manfred award (creative writing) or the Taylor or Grover awards (best grad student papers), please send final copies to us (copy both co-presidents) by Aug. 15.  Grad students wishing to be considered for the Owens awards (to foster diversity), please send application material to Lisa Tatonetti ( by Aug. 15.  More detailed descriptions of WLA awards on the WLA website.

June 21, 2017

Hello from your Co-Presidents in Minnesota,

Boozhoo! A million thanks to those of you who have sent in your submissions. We currently have over 200 submissions with a July 1, 2017 deadline approaching. We have capacity for more submissions, so please contact your friends to see if they are coming to WLA 2017. The conference website is

We have a great line-up of writers including distinguished achievement honoree Rick Shiomi from the Full Circle Theater in Minneapolis. He is a formative playwright for Asian-North American theater in Canada and the United States. He will be joined by authors Will Weaver, Linda LeGarde Grover, Kao Kalia Yang, Joyce Sutphen, Kevin Kling, and Heid Erdrich. The Marriott City Center, where we will be hosting the event, is right in downtown Minneapolis, close to museums, theaters, symphony, fine restaurants, music venues, and everything a major U.S. city can offer. United Airlines is offering WLA members a discount for this year’s conference (see below). Minneapolis is served by multiple airlines, Amtrak, and major interstates. The Twin Cities have a first-rate light-rail system that includes an airport stop.

We appreciate all of you who have indicated your need for A/V equipment and who have used the information function in the ConfTool to alert us to your needs and plans. If you forgot to do that, you can re-enter using your login information and edit your submission. Please make sure that your information is accurate by our July 1, 2017 deadline. Conftool’s address is

Acceptance notices will be going out very shortly.

Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those of you vying for the coveted Willa Pilla, please note there are individual topics to check in order to alert us of your request.  

Final copies of papers for the Taylor and Manfred Awards are due to us (copy to both co-presidents) no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committee for consideration. Our emails are and

Here is what we are looking at in the coming weeks: acceptance notices are going out shortly; after the submission deadline closes, we begin work on the program, which will be available in early August.  ConfTool registration will open the second week or so of July. We will alert you as soon as things are open and running. You will want to register before late fees kick in September 20, 2017. When you register for the conference, you will be able to renew your WLA membership at the same time if you need to do so (remember:  you must be a member at the time you present). We encourage those of you who can afford it to consider membership rates for Sponsors and Patrons.

At the time we send out the invitation to register, we will give you more hotel and transportation information. Our venue is the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis.

In that spirit, the United 5% discount website is activated if you want to check flight costs and availability through that airline. Here is the link:

Once on the link you type in this passcode: ZY5Y175071.

Please note that we are not organizing the traditional outing this year. The Twin Cities offer so many options to visitors that we will suggest outings to the cities’ theaters, the great symphony, sporting events (hockey, baseball—World Series play is doubtful—basketball, and football), museums, and the like. We hope to have information to you on Saturday options later in August. This year’s conference has a number of special performances built in.

We look forward to welcoming you in October (25-28)! Miigwech!

Your co-prezes, Florence and Sue!


Letter to Invite Submissions, 4-25-17

Dear WLA Members:

Boozhoo! Greetings from Minnesota—spring is here, and we are looking forward to getting your paper, panel, and roundtable proposals for WLA Minneapolis 2017 conference, to be held October 25-28, 2017, in the Marriott City Center. 

Go here to submit your proposal:

Please keep in mind a few things:

1.  ConfTool is the only way to submit your proposal.  You will need to create a new account, which you can do starting at the above URL.  Once you have finished your submission, you will receive a notice from ConfTool indicating your submission success. 

2. You need only submit an abstract of your paper.  For panels and roundtables, please remember that each member of the panel or roundtable must create an individual account and submission.  The individual contributions on a panel are linked by the title of the panel, so for pre-formed panels, please enter the title of the panel followed by the title of the individual contribution.  (Example:  “Mining Willa Cather’s Letters” / “The Best Willa Cather Paper Ever”) 

3.  The deadline for all submissions is June 15, 2017.

4.  Please use the topics list to help indicate key ideas in your paper.  Doing so will help us organize cohesive sessions.  The organizers really appreciate your help with this! 

5.  Graduate students who wish to have their papers considered for the Taylor Award or the Grover Award, creative writers wishing to be considered for the Manfred Award, and those of you vying for the legendary Willa Pilla, please note there are individual items to check in the topics list in order to alert us of your desire for consideration for these awards.  Descriptions of these awards can be found on the WLA website.

6.  Final copies of papers for the Taylor, Grover, and Manfred Awards are due (to Florence, email address: no later than August 15 so they can be sent to the appropriate Award Committee for consideration.

7.  Registration information will be sent out (via email and on the website) later, after acceptances have been made—probably late June or thereabout.

8.  Remember that all presenters MUST be a member of the Western Literature Association.  You’ll have a chance to join or renew your membership with your registration.  Or renew or join earlier via the WLA website:

 We are excited about our program and having you all in Minnesota in the fall!

Your 2017 WLA Co-Presidents

Florence Amamoto                            Sue Maher
Gustavus Adolphus College             University of Minnesota Duluth

Letter of Invitation, dated 3-15-17

Dear WLA Members:

Boozhoo! Greetings from Minnesota, land of way too many lakes! The two of us are busy on details for the WLA Minneapolis 2017 conference, to be held 25-28 October 2017 in the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis. 

Our deadline for papers, panels, and other session ideas is June 15, 2017. Please do not submit proposals until you receive the ConfTool link, which should be ready shortly. Spend your time now on writing proposals and helping us fill up a terrific program focused on “Sweet Land, Mighty Waters: Myth and Storytelling West of the Mississippi.”

If you are still thinking about whether to join us, here are some of the WLA Minneapolis highlights:

  • Our Distinguished Achievement Award Winner is playwright, director, and Asian American theater company founder Rick Shiomi, who will be bringing some of his actors to give stage readings
  • Rick will be joined by Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen and master storyteller Kevin Kling Anishinaabe writers Linda LeGarde Grover and Heid Erdrich,  and fiction writer Will Weaver. Our conference will celebrate the vital literary culture that makes Minnesota one of the nation’s premier arts destinations.
  • We will offer wide-ranging papers, discussions, and plenaries on topics related to our theme and to the mission of the WLA.  Please see the website for the original CFP and a list of proposed themes we’d like to highlight, although creative writing and papers on all topics relevant to Western literature are welcome!
  • Saturday afternoon is open for you to design your own adventure, but we will supply lots of suggestions. The Twin Cities are home to many fine art and historical museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Museum, the Minnesota History Center, the Mill City Museum, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Fort Snelling. We will check the arts and sports calendar for that weekend for the many outstanding theaters in the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Symphony, professional sports, and the like.
  • We have a few surprises in store as well.

Soon we will be sending a follow-up greeting with more information on the ConfTool link for registration, the hotel registration link (our conference is in the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis), and the discount link from United Airlines. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is a major Midwest airport, with national and international flights on many, many airlines. Amtrak pulls into the St. Paul Union Station (beautifully restored) from both Seattle and Chicago. Major U.S. interstates also cross in the Twin Cities. WLA members will have many ways to converge on our conference site.

Susan Maher & Florence Amamoto
Your WLA Presidents 2017

PS.: A print version of this letter can be downloaded here: Invitation to 2017 WLA Conference


Minnesota, the “Star of the North” and the eastern edge of “the West,” is border country. It is the land of Manabozho and Nokomis, Paul Bunyan and his Babe, of Longfellow’s Hiawatha and Minnehaha, of Keillor’s Lake Woebegone and the Coen brothers’ Fargo. Here one finds the headwaters of the Mississippi, the international Boundary Waters, and the celebrated Guthrie Theater. Held at the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, the conference will allow participants to take advantage of the Twin Cities’ exciting theater, music, and food scenes.

Our conference’s theme grew from the short story collection Sweet Land by Minnesota writer Will Weaver (made into a movie in 2005) and Minnesota’s long heritage of nature and regional writing. The state is also known for its mythic figures and master storytellers, and the Twin Cities are a thriving theater center with an increasingly diverse ethnic population. For this reason we will present the Distinguished Achievement Award, for the first time, to a playwright, Rick Shiomi, also a director and the founder/artistic director of Theater Mu, one of the top Asian American theaters in the country.

We welcome proposals on any aspect of the literatures of the North American West, but we especially encourage panels and papers that explore the conference themes:

•  Myth, storytelling and storytellers, broadly interpreted
•  Nature writing and literature of place
•  Plays, theater, performance
•  Native American and other ethnic writers and writing
•  Borders and border crossing
•  Minnesota/Midwestern writers/literature
•  Food writing

We are also open to sessions on teaching, workshops, and roundtable discussions. Submissions must include a 250-word abstract, name, affiliation, contact information, and A/V requests. Proposals for panels and roundtable discussions should include an abstract for each paper or presentation. Deadline: June 15, 2017. Please submit abstracts, proposals, or questions to Florence Amamoto or Susan Maher at

Here is a short video that introduces Minneapolis to you:

More information to come as it becomes available.

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  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.