Review by Lopamudra Banerjee
“What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte”
Author: Lisa Knopp
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
I love rivers. Wide ones, narrow ones, straight ones, winding ones, single-channeled and braided ones. I love a river’s mysterious depths and bottoms, its reflectiveness, its changeability and rhythms—spring thaw, annual rise, low water, winter freeze. I love that a river’s rushing waters stir my imagination and connect me with other parts of the region, country, continent, earth.
Thus opens the preface of “What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte,” the latest book by Lincoln, Neb.-based author Lisa Knopp, a collection of poignant essays in which she meditates on the three Midwestern rivers and the different ways in which she has known each of them. “What the River Carries,” one of the distinguished finalists for the 2012–2013 ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) Book Award for Environmental creative nonfiction is a geographical, historical and spiritual exploration of the landscape surrounding the author, where she presents these three rivers as enduring metaphors for seeing or exploring herself.