Best Book Editors

Tall Corn State by Thomas Leverett

Book Blurb

Among Actualist poets and vegetarian restaurant/bakery workers, there isn’t much serious crime, but there’s plenty in the college town around them.

This novel puts you in 1975, when Iowa City was home to several movements at the same time, and when that guy with the pitchfork in American Gothic gave everybody a hard look because of all the things they were doing.

Best Book Editors Review

This book wears several hats. We have 70s nostalgia, US culture, a fly-on-the-wall slice of life, poetry, coming of age, travel, and a couple of mysteries. The book centres around a group of Actualist poets, and the first-person main character who entangles himself in a mystery. Leverette takes us to a time when cultural movements collided in a University city in Iowa laced with creativity and activism.


The novel’s strength lies in the author’s ability to capture the essence of the era.  His people are vibrant, alive, and we watch our hero grow from a pot-smoking boy to a man. I loved the travel elements as he jumps trains in true box-car Willie, hobo, style. Through vivid prose and well-drawn characters, he immerses us in a world where every street corner has a secret. How does that small patch of corn survive year on year in the centre of the city? And where did the white Buffalo go? This is quite a high-brow book, written around a group of poets, and Leverette’s blend of historical detail and literary flair makes for a compelling read. There are some lovely character-written one-stanza poems and haiku which add a nice inclusion to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, the big question running through the book is …What happened to Ana?


About Thomas Leverett

Thomas Leverett’s writing is influenced partly by a 48-state, 4-country hitchhiking journey, and partly by a 30-year career as a university ESL teacher. The e pluribus haiku poetry series reflects intimate knowledge of every corner of the US, while his short stories focus on the nature of people and their failings. From his time as a musician he became acutely aware of the artists’ role in representing culture.

He has a blended family with ten children total, and has just returned to Illinois after ten years in the southwest USA.

He is aware that he might do better sticking with a single genre, yet has come to accept the fact that his large family, time constraints, and ADHD nature ensure that he will probably always work in several.







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