By Donna Tennant
All This Way for the Short Ride: Roughstock Sonnets, 1971-1996
Poems by Paul Zarzyski
Photographs by Barbara Van Cleve
First paired in the book called simply Roughstock Sonnets, poet and former bareback rider Paul Zarzyski and photographer Barbara Van Cleve (both from Montana) have produced 20 new poems and 35 photographs for their second collaboration, which includes 12 poems and a few photographs from the first book. The “short ride” refers to the time a rodeo cowboy must stay on a bucking bronco or bull to qualify. The title poem is about Zarzyski’s friend Joe Lear, who died during a bull ride a “stark silent prayer for a cowboy crushed by a ton of crossbred Brahma.” Most of Van Cleve’s rodeo photographs on facing pages are tightly focused action shots a bucking horse with feet off the ground or a cowboy flying through the air. Van Cleve [SWA Nov 95], who grew up working her family’s ranch in Montana, sometimes shoots her photos from the back of a galloping horse. She was recently inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.1996 Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 86 pages, 35 illustrations, $29.95 hardbound, $17.50 softbound.
Voices Circles Echoes: A Ten-Year Journey
By Geo. B. Drennan
Over the past 10 years, Geo. B. Drennan has roamed the West with his camera, taking thousands of photographs. For this, his first book, he selected 72 of the best. Whether shooting snow-dusted Bryce Canyon, UT, or the Rio Grande River in rocky Big Bend, TX, Drennan gets the essence of the place down on paper. Working outside, in what he refers to as “the house of light and stone,” he conveys a sense of the West’s timelessness in large black-and-white photographs. Sweeping vistas and waterfalls alternate with icy river bottoms and white aspen. Sand dunes and stone cliffs sculpted into abstract patterns by the wind are made more dramatic by chiaroscuro effects achieved in the darkroom. A resident of El Paso, TX, Drennan’s past includes some rodeoing, a stint in Vietnam as a Marine and 22 years as a police officer and detective.1996 Printing Corner Press, El Paso, TX, 116 pages, 52 illustrations, $70 hardbound.
Featured in May 1997