Reviews - What do customers think about Billy Last Crow?
Clear and Searing Poetry Nov 2, 2004
J.P. Dancing Bear's book is clear and searing, accessible and profound. It is organized into a series of vingettes that tell how a Native American man came of age. He grew up in a brutal world of prejudice and alcohol, yet he found moments of humanity, as profound as they were hard-earned, in all his relations, from casual sexual encounters to lasting family ties. The book stands as a testimony and a prayer. It's content is deeply Native and American. It's gift to readers compares with the fine work of Edgar Silex.
Powerful, Eye-opening Sep 4, 2004
J. P. Dancing Bear is an accomplished poet. His poems are included in hundreds of publications and he is the author of five poetry chapbooks: From a Reconstructed Dream (1996), Disjointed Constellation (1998), Prospero in Therapy (1999), Gods of America (2001), Blue Hand (2002), and What Language (2002), which won the 2002 Slipstream Press Poetry Prize.
Bear's debut full-length collection, Billy Last Crow, is an engaging and powerful poetic sequence depicting the life and struggles of a contemporary Native American in a country where he is stereotyped, marginalized, and discriminated against. Billy Last Crow brings to the forefront the plight of many in accessible (yet striking and multi-layered) language, symbolism, and imagery.
The collection vividly portrays relevant issues of poverty, alcoholism, violence, and unemployment, among others, through the eyes of Billy-a wanderer who is denied a place to call home in his own native homeland. Desperation, and at times resignation, are intermingled with the understated determination to forge a better tomorrow in spite of the monumental difficulties and obstacles that are placed on the symbolic protagonist's path. Bear's poetry refuses to accept the universal reality of many by recording and decrying the deplorable human conditions in which they exist, and by subtly confronting the indifference of mainstream society.
Billy Last Crow forces the reader to take an introspective look in order to understand and accept both past and current histories, inviting us not to forget still raw wounds. As in the concluding poem "Billy Ghost Crow," the entire collection demands our attention, and by implication our actions, because injustices continue. Too many souls exist like Billy, and collectively, we continue to look the other way: "He is like the crazy blue- / green ribbon of landscape // flying past the passenger window, / racing into the ghost world."