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Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, and Derleth

To learn how to connect to his home ground--live in it rather than simply on it--Bob Root walks the Wisconsin home grounds of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and August Derleth and takes their lessons to his own walks on the Ice Age Trail and along the Fox River.


In his memoir Happenstance (University of Iowa Press), Robert Root meditates on identity through recollections of single days, interrogations of family photographs, examinations of family literary remains, and reflections on the impact chance and choice have on the formation of a life. "With its multiple modes (vignette, meditation, photograph, ekphrasis), it subverts and redefines memoir, always asking how a person might seek to know himself within the larger context of nation and history. Robert Root's prose is a refreshing joy to read.”—Patrick Madden

Limited Sight Distance: Essays for Airwaves

The best of the "Thinking Out Loud" series of essays written 1980-1987 for broadcast on Central Michigan University's "Morning Edition" program.

Postscripts: Retrospections on Time and Place

A collection of essays that travels from Nova Scotia and the coast of Maine to New York and the coast of Florida, from the Great Lakes to the Four Corners, from Walden Pond to Malabar Farm. Often in the company of writers like E. B. White, Henry David Thoreau, and Louis Bromfield, Robert Root explores the intersecting histories of individual places, not only those of the writers he admires but those that have mattered most profoundly to him.

Following Isabella: Travels in Colorado Then and Now

For a writer new to Colorado the possibility of learning the landscape by following in the footsteps of Isabella Bird, who traveled the territory in 1873, sets him off on his own wanderings, using Bird and other writers as touchstones and guides.

The Nonfictionist's Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction

A "poetics" of nonfiction offering a lively exploration of its contemporary elements and suggesting imaginative approaches to writing it. Each chapter discusses a different aspect of creative nonfiction by examining outstanding examples from the field and concludes with a section of "Notes for Nonfictionists" recommending ways writers can put these ideas into practice in their own nonfiction.

Landscapes With Figures: The Nonfiction of Place

The essays, memoirs, and travel narratives in this anthology, set in widely divergent locales by a range of outstanding writers, are bound together by the central element of the nonfiction of place—an individual writer’s sensibility as it responds to the impact of setting, the awareness that place alters perceptions and influences insight.

Recovering Ruth: A Biographer’s Tale

The task of editing and annotating a nineteen-century diary seemed straightforward at first, but as he assembled scattered fragments of lost history and immersed himself in background research, Root became enmeshed in unexpected ways. Part memoir, part meditation about biography, this is the absorbing story of recovering a hidden past.

The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction, 6th Edition

The Fourth Genre is the first teaching anthology to draw on the common ground both of the practicing writer and the practical scholar. It offers the most thorough, comprehensive, and teachable introduction to the cutting-edge and still evolving genre widely known as “creative nonfiction”.

E. B. White: The Emergence of an Essayist

A study of E. B. White's nonfiction career, tracing its course from his early days as a humorist and paragrapher through his development as a columnist and his ultimate role as an editorial commentator and essayist and concentrating on manuscript evidence of and contexts for composing classic, memorable nonfiction.


Critical Essays on E. B. White (editor)
Diaries of an Isle Royale Fisherman by Elling Seglem (editor w/ Jill Burkland)
How to Develop Your Personality by Betsy Root (editor)
The Island Within Us: Isle Royale Artists-in-Residence 1991-1998 (editor w/ Jill Burkland)
The Rhetorics of Popular Culture: Advertising, Advocacy, Entertainment
Thomas Southerne
Those Who Do, Can: Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching (editor w/ Michael Steinberg)
“’Time By Moments Steals Away’”: The 1848 Journal of Ruth Douglass (editor)
Wordsmithery: A Guide to Working at Writing
Working at Writing: Columnists and Critics Composing

Recent Creative Nonfiction:
"Cave Crawling," Wisconsin Life, Wisconsin Public Radio, June 13, 2018
"Time and Terrain," Split Rock Review Issue 10, Spring 2018
"Crossing the Cuesta," Elemental: A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction, ed. Anne-Marie Oomen. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2018: 138-146
"Walking with Derleth," The Sage of Sac Prairie: The August Derleth Society Newsletter, 38:3 (Winter 2017): 6-7.
"Hiking Wisconsin with ‘Ghosts’ of the Ice Age," Zocalo Public Square, December 1, 2017
"Thinking Like an Island," Isle Royale from the AIR: Poems, Stories, and Songs from 25 Years of Isle Royale Artists-in-Residence, ed. Phillip D. Sterling. Grand Rapids: Caffeinated Press, 2017: 14-19.
"The Welcome Oak," Wisconsin Life, Wisconsin Public Radio, May 17, 2017
"The Locks," Ascent January 29, 2017
"Of Shells and Strata, Time and Terrain," Narrative Map Project, The Great Lakes Review January 29, 2017
"Wild and Precious," Under the Sun Issue 3: June 24, 2015
"The Driving Lesson," Thread 1:2 (Summer 2015). April 1, 2015.
"Rain," in "Beautiful Things", River Teeth October 6, 2014. .
“Autumn Again” and “Mirrors,” Contemporary Haibun Online 10:1 (April 2014)
“The Fox River, Waukesha, WI,” Orion Magazine, January 16, 2013
"Time and Tide"," Ascent August 2010
"Postscript to a Postscript to 'The Ring of Time'," The Pinch Spring 2009.
"Terra Cognita," Colorado Review 35:2 (Summer 2008): 132-148.
“Limited Sight Distance,” Clackamas Literary Review X (2006): 16-18
“The Pattern of Life Indelible,” Ecotone: Reimagining Place 1:2 (Summer/Fall 2005): 152-167.
“The Everlastingly Great Look of the Sky,” The Concord Saunterer 12/13 (2004/2005): 371-387.
“Here Is New York,” divide Issue 2 (2004): 54-57
“The View from Bois Blanc,” Heartlands 1 (Fall 2003): 19-22
“Knowing Where You’ve Been,” Ascent 27:3 (Spring 2003): 45-55
“Shore Lines,” Under the Sun, 8:1 (Summer 2003): 194-206.
“Words in the Wind,” Rivendell Issue 2 (Spring 2004): 227-231.

Recent Articles:
“Researching ‘Caves’,” Kentucky English Bulletin, 65:2 (Spring 2016), 69.
“Creative Nonfiction,” Dictionary of Midwestern Literature. Volume Two: Dimensions of the Midwestern Literary Imagination. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016:179-184.
“Synchronicity and Structure,” Triquarterly Online Issue 148, October 13, 2015
“Captioning and Composing,” The Writer’s Block, The Loft Literary Center, July 31, 2015
“The Matter of My Book,” Triquarterly Online April 15, 2014
“Commentary on ‘Days on the Branch’ by Joseph Mitchell,” The Humble Essayist, Winter 2015
“Essaying the Image,” The Essay Review Volume 2 (Fall 2014) 95-106.
“A Double Life,” Writing on the Edge 16:2 (Spring 2006): 69-81.
“Roundtable: Travel in Nonfiction,” Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction 7:2 (Fall 2005): 77-102.
“Captioning and Capturing the Past,” Statement 42:1 (Fall 2005): 9-15.
“Variations on a Theme of Putting Nonfiction in Its Place,” Pedagogy 4:2 (Sp 2004) 289-295.
“The Experimental Art,” JAEPL: Journal of the Assembly on Expanded Perspectives in Learning 9 (Winter 2003-2004): 12-19.
“Naming Nonfiction (a polyptych),” College English 65:3 (January 2003): 242-256.
“Roundtable: Place in Nonfiction,” Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction 4:2 (Fall 2002): 177-202.