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Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York (Kentucky Voices) Paperback – February 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Kentucky Voices (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; 2nd edition (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813190886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813190884
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,339,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In Buffalo Dance, Walker seeks to resurrect a forgotten but essential member of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition, a man named York who was William Clark's "body servant" and slave. Unlike that of York's fellow traveler of color, Sacagewea, York's role in the great journey west has been woefully overlooked, but Walker was able to absorb enough historical testimony to feel as though he became a "vessel" for York's consciousness, and consequently presents an ardently imagined and gloriously vivid first-person account of York's awe over the munificent and daunting wilderness, and instant rapport with the Indians he meets. Acutely observant, wry, and candid, York sees through Lewis and Clark's flimsy promises, appreciates the Indians' deep knowledge of nature, has beautiful and haunting visions, and regrets his inability to prevent the horrors that are to come. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Winner of the 2005 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry given by the Lannan Foundation." --



"Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award." --



""An ardently imagined and gloriously vivid first-person account of York's awe over the munificent and daunting wilderness, and instant rapport with the Indians he meets."" -- Booklist ( starred review )



""Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure."" -- Frankfort (KY) State Journal



""Frank X Walker's Buffalo Dance is a remarkable achievement, a work of historic fiction to be sure, but one which is so richly evocative, so finely drawn, and so keenly nuanced that it convinces us of the validity of its premise: It succeeds in giving a living voice to the voiceless dead. In these poems, Walker has created a poetic character of such depth, power, wit, and vitality, a character alive to the enriching, and personally liberating, possibilities of experience, who is, at the same time, never forgetful of the painfully abundant limitations imposed by his circumstances, that the long dead, very human York would surely be proud to claim him as his own."" -- George P. Weick, Director, Institute for Liberal Studies, Kentucky State Univers



""Buffalo Dance has great power and beauty. This is poetry and storytelling of a high order."" -- Gurney Norman



"Narrates the physical and spiritual journey from a plantation servant to a man yearning for fulfillment and freedom." -- Kentucky Living



""Walker fictionalizes York's thoughts and dreams and delivers a realism to a black man revered by the Native Americans as 'Big Medicine.'"" -- Kentucky Monthly



""York's persona and the depth of Walker's insight reveal the slave's noble character and produce a powerful book."" -- Lexington Herald-Leader



""Walker brilliantly liberates the spirit of York, the historically unrecognized member of the Louis and Clark Expedition."" -- Key Newsjournal



""Walker presents his poetry as if York is another voice entirely. Walker is responsible for the historical epigraphs and titles; York writes the poetry. The two voices form a dialogue that enriches the poems. The titles and epigraphs often force the reader to think harder and reinterpret the subsequent poems."" -- Louisville Cardinal



""A brave collection of poems.... Brims with the rich complexity of York's condition in a way that will appeal to a wide audience."" -- Louisville Courier-Journal



""Walker's York embodies incredible inner strength, reveres the outdoors, and possesses a remarkable combination of pathos, compassion, and heroism."" -- Modern Mountain Magazine



""And now York, finally, has a voice. The man who made the voyage, the man with all the hopes and dreams of freedom has a voice, raises a song to his freedom, understands that his life was not his best self, only the best that he could do. Let us all raise a praise song to Frank X Walker, for giving voice to York. What a magnificent achievement."" -- Nikki Giovanni



""Fills a void in the great pantheon of the imagined American historical voice. This is an important luminous new collection."" -- Nikky Finney



""Using historical research, Walker eerily channels York, chronicling his growth into a free(d) man within himself."" -- North American Review



""This soulful collection transverses York's personal expedition."" -- Sojourners



"I"n 57 quietly moving poems, Frank X Walker speaks in the voice he has imagined for York, the slave of William Clark, and the only black man who participated in the 1804-06 Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery up the Missouri, across the country to the Pacific and back to St. Louis."" -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch



""Walker's York embodies incredible strength, reveres the outdoors, and possesses a remarkable combination of pathos, compassion, and heroism."" -- Union Co. (KY) Advocate



""This imaginary interpretation of York's life into freedom and struggle against oppression is the very stuff of life and it is just as important that the stories be told not only for those of Affrilachian descent, but also for all of us who face the daily threat of homogenization by impersonal forces whose only intent is power over others."" -- Vox



""York is no longer silent. If York could have chosen the 'vessel' for his voice, he surely could have not selected a more capable voice than that of Frank X Walker. Kentucky native Walker, a founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, gives elegant, wise, and reverent voice to York."" -- Serena Beam, Big Muddy



""A rare blend of history and art, Buffalo Dance is a unique collection."" -- books-african.blogspot.com



""His craft is sure throughout, his aesthetic consistent. Through exploring and imagining York's perspective, Walker succeeds in enhancing our understanding of an important chapter in American history."" -- William Jolliff, Appalachian Journal



""Kudos to Walker: the achieve of, the master of the thing."" -- North American Review


More About the Author

Kentucky poet Frank X Walker coined the word "Affrilachia" to make visible the black experience in the Appalachian South. His awards include a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry and the Lillian Smith Book Award. He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. Author Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read many of these poems along with many other of Mr. Walkers and I am amazed with his voice and vision that he puts into words. I was also privileged to be in a creative writing session that he taught. Not only is he a gifted writer, but an excellent teacher as well.
Read this book, read Affrilacha, and look for his new collection coming in October 2004.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Dunn on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Walker is the rare poet (like Ron Rash or Mary Oliver) who can be overwhelming without being intimidating. The latest collection is wonderful. Each individual poem is a jewel, but the collection as a whole reads like a wonderful novel, and I stayed awake late into the night, reading and savoring each poem because I could not put in down. In York, Walker creates a vision that is honest about both the world he lived in and the one his readers find ourselves inhabiting, with all theglorious and saddening connections between the two. Thanks, Frank.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on August 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I finished reading this at the Falls of the Ohio, where a statue of Lewis and Clark overlook the Ohio. Meanwhile across the river in Louisville, there is Ed Hamilton's statue of York, not as prominently displayed but present. Perhaps we'd like to tell ourselves that we have gone a long way, and York too came a long way on the voyageur of discovery. But to go from a voting member of the expedition ("That winter, he give me my own proxy // say my word count too, /// but I knows not to get too full a myself ") to return to "revisionist history" and ill treatment ("I don't know what get in Massa's head // an have him think a generous whip // make me a better slave"). York left no notes, so Walker makes appealing conjectures about York's inner thoughts during the voyage .. "When I be my best self, I be all buffalo", of dreaming of his wife, or of vision quests. Thought provoking poetry!
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