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Bill Goodman

This Month's Theme:
A Place for Poetry

This month we present work by Joe Survant, Nikky Finney, Frank X Walker, and Maurice Manning. Books for April

Now:
Rafting Rise
by Joe Survant

Sunday, April 6 at 6:30/5:30 am CT and 11:30/10:30 pm on KET2

Set in the basins of the Rough, Green, and Ohio rivers in 1916 and 1917, Joe Survant's Rafting Rise combines Southern storytelling with lyrical poetry to evoke a long-vanished world of logging, river commerce, and subsistence living. From the opening poem, the former Kentucky poet laureate captures the vivid, hardscrabble existence of rural men and women teetering on the brink of the modern era.

Told from the viewpoints of various characters, Survant's poems move through the seasons, beginning in the winter of 1916 and ending shortly before April 6, 1917, the day the United States entered World War I. Only Sallie, the "river witch," foresees the coming carnage, "a great black wagon/filled with the bodies of men I knew/rolling through a strange pasture."

Survant's language is simple and direct, and his poems can be quickly read. But his deep understanding of the people he writes about and their way of life creates a complex and compelling portrait of Kentucky's past.

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