2024 Grant Wood Country Forum

The Grant Wood Country Chronicle

COMING SPRING 2024: The 2023/2024 edition!!

The 2022 edition of the Grant Wood Country Chronicle, compilation of poems, essays and short fiction by people scattered from coast to coast. They come together during eight forum sessions to roll around in the art, legacy, history and culture of Grant Wood and the beautiful areas that served as subjects of his many works. The Chronicle is made possible by the Cedar Rapids Public Library and is available upon request to editor Elaine Mattingly (use the Contact page on this site).


"I got the journal in the mail and have been enjoying reading and re-reading every word of it! 

Great job on everything—overall concept, layout, writing/editing, mojo infusion, etc. I see a lot of expertise and mindfulness in the set up copy, credits and bios. Well done. You also do a great job extrapolating and promoting the synergy between the project itself and the publication's ability to grow the project. It's informative for curious people and scholars alike. You really did a great job crafting it for the reading experience with a mindset toward growing the project. I can't say enough about how great I think this is. Well done!" —Joe Coffey

Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems
  • Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems
  • Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems
  • Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems
  • Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems

Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems

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A unique folio format allows readers to engage the twenty poems in this collection in a hands-on way, enriching the experience. Custom woodcut art by Margaret Chancellor Caldwell.

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NOW RELEASEDGrant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems, with support by The Arts Connection (of Jasper County, Iowa). 

COMING SOON: Digital graphic and audio edition of Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems--featuring new poems, audio recordings of poems, many of which feature original music under by John Mattingly. Others produced by the poet with the listeners pleasure in mind.

About the Collection (from the Forward by Sarah Cartwright): 

Anyone who has not grown up Iowan—or grew up Iowan but somehow missed the venerated magic of Woods’ stomping grounds—will know it now, through the veritable heartbeat that courses through this illustrious collection of poems by Elaine Mattingly. 

Ms. Mattingly has woven a rich, varied and life-affirming work, firmly rooted in Iowa soil. Her words celebrate; give witness to; question, tease, and dare. Above all, they feed—as well as free—our senses, with the sheer sensuousness and sensuality of being ALIVE.  I just want to weep at this. 

The loose-leaf format grants each poem a singular dignity, in time and place; presented individually to the reader, they are each their own gifts. The well-chosen typeface completes the hand-wrought aesthetic with a rough-hewn honesty, aligning itself with the bold—and exquisite—wood-cut cover. 

These are beautifully written and timeless poems. I did not think I could so relish a poem in which the words are spaced unevenly, or scattered across the page as a field of wildflowers. However, in its entirety, this poet’s instinct for word placement is inventive, exuberant, and wonderfully disarming. 

As a collection, these poems are truly the heart of the heart of the country. The landscapes and people live in Elaine, and she in them: this speaks to Ms. Mattingly’s profound receptiveness to her natal and ancestral environment and those who have dwelled within it; and outward further, to a greater humanity.”


Relying on my personal experiences as a Grant Wood Country native daughter, with several generations before me, and two behind me, I have worked to craft authentic poems that resonate to the nature of the people and places that are embedded in my very DNA. With a variety of poetic approaches, and in the spirit of Grant Wood's inspirational poet friend Jay G. Sigmund (with contemporary sensibilities and influences), I have written these poems to appeal to poetry enthusiasts as well as the poetry-shy. The collection captures the allure, as well as the all-too-human responses to lives lived, across generations, in Grant Wood Country (east central Iowa, encompassing Anamosa, Stone City, Cedar Rapids and the landscapes of Linn and Jones counties). This collection, decades in the making, will first become available in a loose leaf format. The format is intended to entice readers to pull out individual poems from the folio for their own enjoyment, for sharing with friends, as gifts, and for starting conversations about the special people and places of Grant Wood Country. Perhaps some will be inspired to post some on the family fridge or scatter them on coffee tables. Perhaps some will nod in recognition and others discover something they didn't realize about the character of the people and places of this most special of places. Scholars far and wide have sought to demystify the person and iconic artworks of Grant Wood. Rest assured; his influence is alive well. —Elaine