Cawelti Folds Column After 40 Years

Jun 20, 2018

Scott Cawelti has been writing a column in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area for more than 40 years. But, in a recent column he announced his decision to put down the editorial pen.

Cawelti started his editorializing with an admiration of longtime Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, and delivered three pieces to what was then the Cedar Falls Record. "And by golly, people liked them. I mean, sort of, enough to keep me going a while," says Cawelti.

Although he's written books, edited poetry, and taught writing at the University of Northern Iowa, he says a weekly column takes a different kind of discipline.

"You're writing all the time," he says. "You never stop writing."

But, he says he's lost friends over some of his recent political columns. He says people are no longer willing to read something they don't agree with.

"It's just a terrible time to be controversial because people ignore you," says Cawelti.

So, when he realized he was only getting positive letters, he knew he was essentially preaching to the choir.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, Cawelti speaks with host Charity Nebbe about his favorite columns over the years and the Cedar Valley area that inspired much of his writing.