Dispatches From the Rust Belt 2023


For almost a decade, Belt Magazine has published reporting and essays that are of the Rust Belt, by the Rust Belt, and for the Rust Belt. In a year that saw the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the midterm elections, and the growing devastations of climate change, Belt has been there to offer its own unique perspective on how our region intersects with the world. In 2023, the site has covered the repurposing of shuttered steel plants and ecological disasters, labor struggles and the decimation of academic programs, and those living on the outskirts of society. As always, a year of both triumphs and tragedies, but Belt has been there and will continue to be there offering the perspective from Cleveland and Detroit, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, Chicago and Minneapolis.

Contributors include Belt regulars Avery Gregurich, Emma Riva, Anjulie Rao, Ashley Stimpson, Lori Jakiela, and many more.

Details: Paperback, 198 pages.




Collecting our favorite stories from 2023, featuring:

Introduction by Ed Simon


Unspooling the Cassette Tape in Springfield, Missouri – Avery Gregurich

Trent Reznor’s Conflicted Rust Belt Legacy – Casey Taylor

Unlocking the Gateway to the West – Eileen G’Sell

Carrie Furnace’s Blood, Sweat, and Fire – Emma Riva

Bow Before the Butter Cow – Miles MacClure


St. Louis’ Wealthy King of the Hobos – Marc Blanc

The Queer Witches of Appalachia – Emma Cieslik

Hatchet-Throwing in Forgotten Places – Hannah Kennedy

The Ax Man Cometh, Again – Nicholas Mainieri

The Secrets of a “Homeless Influencer” – Lauren Abunassar


Labor, Solidarity, and Nursing – Eva Rosenfeld

The Cost of Loss at WVU – Rachel Rosolina

#BuffaloSyllabus: A Love Letter to Black Buffalo – Adria R. Walker

Erasure in Peoria – Taylor Michael

In Pittsburgh, Local Journalism is Worth the Fight – Noelle Mateer


East Palestine: A Portrait – Matthew Chasney

Saturday Afternoon at the Last Dog Track in America – Ashley Stimpson

Fly-Fishing in Michigan – Ed Breen

St. Louis Brick by Brick – Anjulie Rao

The Great Cougar Comeback – Patrick Shea


Forgetting How to Swim – Demetrius Buckley

Kindness is its Own Memory – Lori Jakiela

The Accident that Changed a City – Robert Isenberg

Exiles Living in a Church – Kristin Kovacic

That Good Night – Nancy Grace McCabe