A Ranch Bordering the Salty River
By Stephen Page
Finishing Line Press 2016
A Short Review by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri
A Ranch Bordering the Salty River is a character-driven poetic narrative filled with suspense; cruelty; love of “Mate,” aging Teresa, and adoptive grandchildren; and nature that surrounds cattle ranching and ranch workers/cowboys (gauchos) alike. There are heroes, including Jonathan the narrator and “The Horseback Vet,” juxtaposed with villains of all sorts, which one is likely to encounter on (Santa Ana and La Limpieza) ranches (estancias) in this realm. At the “Tree root” Jonathan (a man of many occupations – “I Was a Soldier”) longs not to be the new driven-by- profit rancher, which his “business partner” urges: “to plow away more of my grass, shot the quail, trap the armadillos, flit away the mockingbird, spray to death the flowers, plant genetically modified soy, sterilize my herd to nothing.” But rather, he wants “Transformations” – “let the cattle feed…fields clovered…daily strolls in the quiet of the Wood. To watch for hours bumblebees work, and lock eyes with the mockingbird.” Jonathan has this unescapable longing “to return to the wood/To the way it was.” Stephen Page will take you there and in returning you, too, will be changed.
You can find the book here: https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2662
Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphian, is the author of three full-length poetry collections. More about Diane can be found at http://www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com/ & https://dianesahmsguarnieri.wordpress.com/