A Casino Bestiary continues Denise Low’s exploration of the frontier West, what it means for Indigenous and settler citizens, its myths and boundaried realities. This is the most personal of Low’s books, full of wit, sting, surprise. Cover art by Jaune Quick-To-See Smith
Spartan Press (September 9, 2017), $12.00, 64 pages ISBN-10: 1946642134 ISBN-13: 978-1946642134 Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Kevin Rabas, Kansas Poet Laureate, has this to say about Casino Bestiary: “Denise Low-Weso, a prolific polymath, is the author of 25 books of poetry and prose. She has a poet’s heart and a scholar’s mind, and she sounds the depths of where she’s researched and been and lived, capturing moments with Wm S. Burroughs, Thelonious Monk, and rooms of ghosts.”
Shirley Braunlich: “Reading Casino Bestiary is an experience in risk, like gambling or spinning the roulette wheel, and our lived experiences; you can’t anticipate what’s coming on the next page. In just 50-some pages, it includes playful explorations and plain-spoken truths with much gut-wrenching meaning. There is worrisome truth in the piece titled “Bureau of Indian Affairs School, 1985”. A favorite poem of mine is “Woody Woodpecker, A.K.A. Pileated”, which gives a cryptic sense of reality. Other favorites reflect natural elements and place-connections, clearly rooted in the Kansas Flint Hills or in or near Lawrence. Go ahead, open these pages, take a chance and be brave!”
A CASINO BESTIARY
Wolverine triplets zing a match but one zags away.
Add dollars and shake hands with chrome handles.
Two yellow coyotes snarl and curl tails. Spin again.
A shaggy elk bull rises but stumbles downstream.
Add quarters and hear silver waterfalls tinkle.
Three rabbits disappear and appear and disappear.
Jaguar has a cameo role and departs grinning.
Add dimes and hear Wheel of Fortune ding-dong-ding.
Three honking geese fly in a line then falter.
White-tailed deer leap one after another after another.
Add buffalo nickels, buffalo nickels, buffalo nickels, buffalo nickels.
Prairie dogs on the screen swivel. Watch them vanish.