|When Winter Come: The Ascension of York
When Winter Come: the Ascension of York (University Press of Kentucky, 2008)
A sequel to the award-winning Buffalo Dance, Frank X Walker's When Winter Come: The Ascension of York is a dramatic reimagining of Lewis and Clark's legendary exploration of the American West. Grounded in the history of the famous trip, Walker's vibrant account allows York — little more than a forgotten footnote in traditional narratives — to embody the full range of human ability, knowledge, emotion, and experience. Knowledge of the seasons unfolds to York "like a book," and he "can read moss, sunsets, the moon, and a mare's foaling time with a touch."
During the journey, York forges a spiritual connection and shares sensual delights with a Nez Perce woman, and Walker's poems capture the profound feelings of love and loss on each side of this ill-fated meeting of souls. As the perspectives of Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and others in the party emerge, Walker also gives voice to York's knife, his hunting shirt, and the river waters that have borne thousands of travelers before and after the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The alternately heartbreaking and uplifting poems in When Winter Come are told from multiple perspectives and rendered in vivid detail. When Winter Come exalts the historical persona of a slave and lifts the soul of a man; York ascends out of his chains, out of oblivion, and into flight.
Black Box (Old Cove Press, 2005) continues the personal and autobiographical journey of Affrilachia with sixty eight new poems from Walker.
Black Box (Old Cove Press, 2005)
|Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award, 2004 A BookSense 76 Spring 2004 Top 10 Poetry Book!
Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York
This collection of persona poems tells the story of the infamous Lewis Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark's personal slave, York. The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition — a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free.
Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though Buffalo Dance purposely references historic accounts and facts, it is fictionalized poetry, and Frank X Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure.
Affrilachia (Old Cove Press, 2000) is Walker's groundbreaking first collection of poems, now in its fourth printing.
Affrilachia (Old Cove Press, 2000)