Book Review: A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page


Stephen Page’s A Ranch Bordering the Salty River accomplishes something quite impressive just in its genre-bending layout: 20 pointed poems tell a story whose depth could span the breadth of a novel. More impressive, these poems stay with you; this story stays with you. The lingering power of A Ranch Bordering the Salty River is made possible by Page’s control over language. Not only are we granted what feels like exclusive access to wonderful imagery of the natural world, but we’re slow-dripped a cast of characters (and the ensuing plot) in a way that never feels forced or overwhelming. 

At the core of A Ranch Bordering the Salty River is Jonathan, a rancher who navigates the ups and downs of attempting to run an environmentally-conscious ranch alongside his wife. He's faced with various problems along the way if he is to stay true to the craft, and true to himself -- if he and the ranch are to live on, how are each of them to change? How is change to be handled? 

In this way, I think Jonathan strikes two different chords: 1) his passion for the outdoors is contagious; readers, too, will be drawn to the woods, to the sky, to the birds, and 2) as the world continues its debate over the causes and effects of climate change, Jonathan is an important character for readers to observe and learn from, no matter their area code. 

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River is an important book, and one Page graciously invites us into. One where he offers us a chair he’s built by hand and asks us to stay a while, to share some mate, to breathe. 

- Garrett Dennert

A Michigan native, Stephen Page now resides in Argentina, with his family. He holds degrees from Palomar College, Columbia University, and Bennington College, and is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. 

He loves to write, teach, ranch, walk in the woods, ramble, ride his Harley, go on road trips, fish, and spend time with his family. He love his wife over all things.

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River is now available at Finishing Line Press. Be sure to follow Stephen Page on Twitter, and to check out our exclusive interview with him.