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Plains Song Review - Spring 2004

  • Issue Number: Volume 6
  • Published Date: Spring 2004

It’s easier, of course, to define the physical boundaries of an enormous space like the Great Plains than to come to an understanding of its essence, the unwalkable borderland where place meets person, where the geography of a region becomes home to a human heart. Like farming, the work is difficult and risky and never-ending. But Plains Song Review, with its writers from a landscape two parts belonging and one part longing, whose heritage is the wind and the grass blowing as much as it is the farmland, is up to the task. Melissa Tubbs’ poem “Oil Change” mourns a still strong-spirited, physically failing grandfather, “climbing the bars of his bed” to get back to the land that made him. And in Bonnie Crumly-Fastring’s “He Disks,” each night a father ascends from his nursing home bed, “flies, like a feathered thing, / out to his farm.” But the voices here are less similar than you might expect. Gerald Shapiro (From Hunger, Bad Jews), in an interview, says that he writes “about a place in the head which is Kansas City as a person who is out of place in Kansas City would imagine it.” J. Lynn Batten’s artwork, featured on the cover and throughout, incorporates photos, drawings, and letters in forms that seem both antique and still here, held onto and reimagined. Plains Song Review is back-of-your-own-hand familiar and as beautifully strange as the land that, for nothing less than love, it means to render into words. [Plains Song Review, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska, 1155 Q Street, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. E-mail: . Single issue $7. http://www.unl.edu/plains/publications/PSR/psr.html] – AS

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Review Posted on July 31, 2004
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