What do you do when you’re not cleaning house, cooking, or washing dishes? — read! OK, I mean, lol, that is what you might want to do after you have seen all you want to see on Netflix and HBO, chatted with all your friends 100 times online, and got bored with playing boardgames.
Photo by Shawn Spry Shellnut
A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page
Having done a lot of traveling in Argentina in the past three years, I certainly welcomed reading Stephen Page’s book “The Salty River Bleeds.” His poems and prose-poems follow the lives of a husband and wife who live and work on an Argentinian ranch for a period of time, in that seemingly endless land of cattle-breeding estancias replacing most of the wildlife of the pampas. The other reviewers have for the most part already written whatever I could say, but I do want to add a bit more. I deeply appreciate Page’s scoping in on one of those estancias whose flatline acres I rode through and whose houses and outlying buildings I squinted at mainly from a distance. His near mythic ranch is like a stage with various characters of sometimes unsavory and even brutal traits. Little by little he reveals an entire universe in microcosm, only this one with gauchos; endless gates and fences and fence posts; South American horses, bulls, cows, and calves, and ancient grasses and flowers relentlessly being replaced by soybeans. I like the way the author conveys the gritty reality of cattle ranching while at the same time weaving in the incomparable beauty of what is left of the pampas its flora and fauna. I especially was moved by the poignancy of the book’s last two poems, The Salty River and Old Man, the first with its crescendo-vision of pink flamingos and the second with the old man in black tatters who keeps materializing, walking, forever walking, alongside the road. The Salty River Bleeds is a book containing many evocative and symbolic levels as befits a giant country, attentive to place and spirit of place and how human beings develop in response to that which surrounds them. I highly recommend a ride through Stephen Page’s poetry. – Susan Deer Cloud, Author of “The Way to Rainbow Mountain.”
I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things ~ Emma Goldman
go to Susan Deer Cloud’s website: https://sites.google.com/site/susandeercloud/
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