Wyoming Arts Council

Sam Western's new book gets kudos in Rattle

Sam Western’s new book received a favorable review in Rattle magazine online.

“A Random Census of Souls” is a collection of prose poems by the Sheridan author and a 2000 Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowship winner. It’s published by Daniel & Daniel Publishers, P.O. Box 2790, McKinleyville, CA 95519. ISBN 978-156474-478-42009, $14. FMI: http://www.danielpublishing.com/bro/western.html

Sam’s in fine company on the mag’s June review pages. Other featured authors are David Ray, the late Agha Shahid Ali, Allison Hedge Coke and the late Larry Levis.

Read the entire review at

Here’s a sample:

These poems have much to teach us about a life fast disappearing, with their images of baling contractors and spring plowing and planting. In “Feeding the Bears,” lines about planting and composting give way to lines about development: “Any ground good for growing pumpkins is good for growing houses.” A sense of loss is never far away. Several of these poems plant themselves firmly in the past, with specific years as part of their titles (“Garrison Project, North Dakota, 1951,” “Hot Springs, 1955,” and “Inland Nova Scotia, August 1905”).

I particularly love the poems that make me think about something in a way I hadn’t thought about it before. “The Confessions of Quarries” reminds us of how much deep water can hide. “Easter Noir” has intriguing ideas of redemption and spring. “Act of Faith” uses meteorological images to describe a child’s tantrum. “Drinking Townsend’s Solitaire” presents a story of a creek which hears all of the forest’s songs, the creek as “hymnal of the woods,” on its journey to the sea, a journey disrupted by development.

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