BENNINGTON — A Bennington College graduate will publish his third book this month, a story, in verse, of a rancher who learns to live as one with the land.
Stephen Page, a Michigan native who graduated from Bennington College in 2008, is the author of "A Ranch Bordering the Salty River." The book is being published by Finish Line Press, and is currently available for pre-order on the company's website, and will ship Aug. 12.
"The book is the story, in verse, of a rancher who learns how to run a ranch in an environmentally conscious manner," said Page, "He also learns how treat the animals humanely, and the employees justly. He ensures that a generous portion of land is kept feral as a wildlife refuge and a haven for local flora. As the years pass, he is daily battling cattle rustlers and horse thieves, and trying to keep his family's ranch eco-friendly."
Page said that the drama continues to build, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happens.
He said the book has no specific target audience — it is meant for anyone who enjoys a good story.
"Half Frost, half Hemingway, Stephen Page tells a gripping tale in verse of a rancher disenchanted with the details of administering land, its livestock, and its unreliable laborers, only to be called by the mythic lure of the nearby Wood and the amorphous deity that emerges to encounter him," said Rustin Larson, author of "The Philosopher Savant, "The writing here is clean and lovely and permanent, which is rare in storytelling and rarer still in poetry."
Page was born in Detroit, and spent his childhood moving from place to place in Michigan. "While I was growing up," he said, "I had cousins that lived up north (in Bellaire, Torch Lake, and Mt. Pleasant) so I spent most of my summers there where I often ran barefoot through Michigan woodlands – I climbed trees, leapt over fallen trunks, and sludged through swamps. I learned to swim very young, so I easily forded rivers and swam across large lakes. My Aunt Dee and Uncle John instilled in me reverence for nature and respect for the land. They also taught me how to hunt, trap, and fish — but only for sustenance, not for sport."
A former marine, Page now lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he teaches, ranches, and takes care of his family.
"I loved my experience at Bennington," said Page, "I still dream of being on campus, sitting on the wall, gazing at the mountains, lying on the lawn, walking through the trees and past the pond to the barn, attending classes instructed by illustrious faculty. I also loved to drive down Main Street to South Street and dine deliciously in one of your fine restaurants — Madison Brewing Company, Papa Pete's, Subway, Elizabeth's Eatery, The Blue Benn Dinner, Kevin's Sports Pub & Restaurant, Bennington Station Restaurant, The Publyk House, Pizza Hut, Pangaea, Apple Valley Inn and Cafe, and South Street Cafe, just to name a few."
Page has two previous publications to his name. His first book, "A Timbre of Sand," is a collection of sonnets he wrote for his wife. The second, "Still Dandelions," is a collection of haiku that he wrote, "for anyone who feels the synthesis of all living things on earth."
Page gave a piece of advice for any aspiring writers, saying, "Just keep at it, no matter what, and remember always why you started writing."
— Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.