Erica Trabold, "Five Plots" (Seneca Review Books, 2018)


When you picture the midwestern United States, what do you see? For those who live on either coast, the phrase “flyover country,” might come to mind. Wide open spaces and vast empty plains. Miles and miles of corn, as far as the eye can see. The kind of place where nothing much happens, and nobody important ever lived. At least, so goes the pervading stereotype. But if you’ve spent much time in the Midwest, chances are you have a very different perspective of this landscape. Your vision of America’s heartland is probably populated with the friends, family, and experiences that helped shape you, and the great state you call home. For writer Erica Trabold of Stromsburg, Nebraska, the Midwest is more than the place she came of age—it’s also a landscape rich with stories. In her debut collection, Five Plots (Seneca Review Books, 2018), Trabold explores themes of family, heritage, belonging, nostalgia, and the natural world in a series of beautiful, tightly-woven essays. Through her unique formal experimentations with prose, Trabold offers a fresh perspective of this often overlooked terrain. Today on the New Books Network, join us as we welcome Erica Trabold to discuss her essay collection, Five Plots, winner of the Seneca Review’s first Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, now available from Seneca Review Books (2018).
Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral student at Ohio University, where she studies creative nonfiction and teaches writing classes. For more NBn interviews, follow her on Twitter @zoebossiere or head to

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Zoe Bossiere

Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University, where she studies and teaches creative writing and rhetoric & composition. She is the managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, and the co-editor of its anthology, The Best of Brevity (Rose Metal Press, 2020).

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