Clay S. Jenkinson left North Dakota in 1973 for college, and while he visited frequently, he didn’t move back to his beloved home for 25 years. The North Dakota he left had changed, it was not the same “clunky wheat state of his youth.”
Jenkinson had changed too.
“Am I still a North Dakotan?” he asked himself in the essay “Clay Jenkinson: a Native Son’s Letter from the Plains,” one in a book of Jenkinson’s essays that began as columns in the Bismarck Tribune.
In “For the Love of North Dakota and Other Essays, Sundays with Clay in the Bismarck Tribune,” Jenkinson writes of his love for the Great Plains. He writes about the state and how it has changed over the years.
“Jenkinson writes lovingly about the Little Missouri River Valley and the badlands of western North Dakota, the magnificence of plains blizzards and thunderstorms, driving the American West without any settled destination in mind, about the lingering rituals of small-town life, and about North Dakota’s search for a post-agrarian identity,” according to a press release from the Oklahoma Press.
Jenkinson hails from North Dakota and moved back to his home from Reno, Nev. In the book’s first essays, he wrote of coming home, and the differences between North Dakotans and people from anywhere else in the world.
His second essay’s title “Moving Home to a Kinder – Gentler – Chattier State,” is self-explanatory as he discusses how easy North Dakotan’s are to get along with, how helpful they are and how eager they are to share with others.
Voted Bismarck’s best writer by readers of the Bismarck Tribune in 2011, Jenkinson has lived in the the western United States. He was educated at the University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt, the University of Colorado and Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, according to the press release. He also founded the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University and is the Director of the Dakota Institute.
In addition, he is an expert on Thomas Jefferson, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Other books written by Jenkinson include “The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness,” and “A Free and Hardy Life: Theodore Roosevelt’s Sojourn in the American West.”
“For the Love of North Dakota and Other Essays, Sundays with Clay in the Bismarck Tribune” is available from bookstores, from online booksellers, and directly from the University of Oklahoma Press at (800) 627-7377 or www.ourpress.com .