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Robert Rebein, Kansas Author

Robert Rebein

Dragging Wyatt Earp, Book Cover, Robert Rebein

Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realist Cover, Robert Rebein

From Booth:

Why I Hate The Wizard of Oz, Booth, Robert Rebein






Robert Rebein was born in Dodge City, Kansas, on September 1, 1964, the sixth of seven sons in the family of Bill Rebein, a farmer and rancher, and Patricia McDonald Rebein, a former nursing student from Wichita who moved to Dodge City to attend St. Mary of the Plains College.  As a boy growing up in Dodge City, Rebein attended Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Dodge City Senior High School, graduating in 1983. 

After a year at Dodge City Community College, Rebein transferred to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he earned a BA in English with Honors and Highest Distinction in 1988.  While an undergraduate at KU, Rebein earned a Direct Exchange Scholarship to study at Essex University in Colchester, England (1986-87).  Following his graduation from KU, Rebein earned a Pearson Fellowship for graduate study abroad at Exeter University in Exeter, England.  His MA thesis at Exeter, a study of the doubling motif in the novels of William Faulkner, earned Rebein his Master’s in English with Distinction in 1990.  While writing that thesis, Rebein taught English and American literature at the Universite du Centre in Kairouan, Tunisia (1989-1990). 

The following year, Rebein returned to the United States to enter the graduate English program at the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he studied postmodernism and American Literature under the legendary literary critic Leslie Fiedler.  After graduating with his PhD in 1995, Rebein moved on to Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned his MFA in Writing in 1997.  In 1998, he joined the creative writing faculty at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, where he is currently Associate Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies in English.  His publications include two books, Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City (Swallow/Ohio University Press, 2013) and Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction after Postmodernism (University of Kentucky Press, 2001). 

His articles on American Literature have appeared in The Cambridge Companion to American Fiction Since 1945, Blackwell Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, and The Mourning After: Attending the Wake of Postmodernism.  His essays and other nonfiction have appeared in The Georgia Review, Ecotone: Re-imagining Place, Redivider, The Cream City Review, Etude: New Voices in Literary Nonfiction, High Desert Journal, Grasslands Review, High Plains Literary Review, Bayou, and other magazines and journals.  Rebein lives with his wife Alyssa Chase and their two children in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Bibliography (- housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  


Creative Nonfiction:

  • “Horse Latitudes” Booth (July 2012)
  • “Truth, Myth, and the Western Writer of Place” High Desert Journal (Spring 2011)
  • “The Search for Quivira” Umbrella Factory (December 2010)
  • “Sisyphus of the Plains” Redivider (Fall 2010; pp. 37-42)
  • “How to Ride a Bronc” Etude: New Voices in Literary Nonfiction (Summer 2010)
  • “Why I Hate The Wizard of OzBooth (Spring 2010; pg 64)
  • “The Identity Factory” Inscape (Spring 2010; pp 37-38)
  • “The Greatest Game Country on Earth” Grasslands Review (Summer 2009; pp 78-93)
  • “A Most Romantic Spot” Bayou (Winter 2008; pp. 71-80)
  • “Dragging Wyatt Earp” Ecotone: Reimagining Place (Fall 2007; pp. 145-157)

Published Works Continued...

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Writing Samples

For a teenager suffering the boredom of Dodge City, Kansas, circa 1980, the only thing to do at night, so we all said, was to “drag Wyatt Earp.”  By this we did not mean, as the image would suggest, that we’d pull the nineteenth-century lawman through the streets by his boot heels, but only that we’d cruise up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard in our beat-up Chevrolets and hand-me-down Buicks, searching for that elusive bit of excitement that always seemed to exist just outside of our reach.  Wyatt Earp, to us, was not a person but a place, a mile-long ribbon of asphalt that stretched from Boot Hill on the east to the Dodge House on the west, containing in that brief space all of our teeming and awkward adolescence, our collective longings and flirtations and our often ridiculous mistakes, few of which we had to pay for in any meaningful way.

Dragging Wyatt Earp was a ritual and a clearly demarcated rite of passage, one that began at fourteen or fifteen, the years when most of us were issued our first driver’s licenses, and that ended two or three years later, when the pool halls and beer joints and lakeside keg parties began to absorb us.  Had we been city kids, we’d have been hanging out at the mall or the cineplex.  But we weren’t city kids, and Dodge was a suburb of nowhere, hundreds of mostly tedious miles from Dallas, Denver or Kansas City, and there was much that we would never do or see before the age of nineteen or twenty.  But we could drink and we could drive, both at early ages and in plain sight of the police.  A kind of unwritten law had been established long ago.

I can recall, at sixteen or seventeen, wheeling into the Kwik Shop at Twelfth and Wyatt Earp and emerging five minutes later with a six-pack of Coors cradled in my arm like a football. Often the person selling me the beer knew exactly who I was, who my father and brothers were, what position I played on the high school basketball team.  Sometimes there’d be a cop car in the parking lot when I came out, two sheriff’s deputies sitting side by side with their elbows jutting out open windows.  I’d nod to them as I ambled past with my illicit cargo, and they’d nod right back in that slow, calculated manner of police everywhere.

“You be careful now, you hear?”

---From Dragging Wyatt Earp

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