cover image American Rambler

American Rambler

Dale Smith. Thorp Springs Press, $10 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-914476-00-9

Co-editor of the hand-painted and carefully edited magazine Skanky Possum and the author several small-press collections, Dale Smith here sets out to recreate and reenvision a primary American Rambler, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. A serious and fractured long poem centered on the disastrous and revealing decade (from about 1527 to 1537) that de Vaca spent in what is now Texas and the U.S. Southwest, the book's three sections include a verse investigation of de Vaca's targeted wanderings, a brief prose section called ""Conquest Notes"" and a keen and unorthodox essay on the late poet and critic Paul Metcalf. In the de Vaca section, Smith locates his explorations ""[p]rior to stripmall America/ & smallpox/ before missions (Catholic & Capital)/ Europe compressed itself/ in Spanish Adam/ Alvar Nunez/ was delivered/ a relic/ of modern times."" ( Apr.)