Is Local Color what your grandmother used to read? If so, your grandmother had good taste. Local color demands pacing, attention to detail, the telling anecdote, and interesting characters. We associate cities with local color writers--Chicago with Studs Turkel and Saul Bellow, New York with Isaac Bashevitz Singer and Tom Wolfe, and Galesburg with Martin Litvin. Wait a minute. Did you say, Galesburg with whom? Isn't that the Litvin who knows Chicago and New York? And where in the hell is Galesburg?
Galesburg, Illinois, the typical midwestern small city at the turn of the century, a railroad center, some industry, and two colleges. Whoever said, "It's a poor town which doesn't have a poor college!" wasn't thinking of Galesburg, whose fine small colleges produced two outstanding writers in these years, George Fitch and Carl Sandburg, both now subjects of books by Martin Litvin.
The community and the college which nurtured Carl Sandburg. That is the focus. Slightly off center is the young poet and political neophyte, searching for meaning and purpose in the classroom, the newspaper office, and on the basketball court.