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April 2005
Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York
by Frank X Walker

[featured in the bookclub Poetry Special]

From the back cover of the 2004 paperback edition (University Press of Kentucky):

“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, author of Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgement and Blues: For All the Changes

Buffalo Dance has great power and beauty. This is poetry and storytelling of high order.”
—Gurney Norman, author of Divine Right’s Trip: A Novel of the Counterculture and Kinfolks

“Fills a void in the great pantheon of the imagined American historical voice. This is an important, luminous new collection.”
—Nikky Finney, author of Rice


In Buffalo Dance, Frank X Walker innovatively blurs the lines between poetry, fiction, and history to tell the story of the infamous Lewis and Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark’s slave, York. Breathing lyrical life into a historical figure, these poems vividly present York’s struggles and narrate a physical journey from the plantation to the great Northwest and a spiritual journey from a humble servant to a man yearning for fulfillment and freedom. The result is a celebration of the beauty and wisdom long suppressed but finally emerging from one man’s soul.


Frank X Walker, vice president of the Kentucky Center and executive director of the Governor’s School for the Arts, is the author of Affrilachia. A founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, he resides in Kentucky.



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