Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:2 (Fall 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Prairie Voices is a volume full of surprises. From the Foreword and Preface I was expecting a deep narrative on how the author lives in and experiences the prairie world and found instead a drawn-out discussion about how the author uses poetry in his medical school practice.

Each of eleven chapters gives some glimpse of the author's understanding of the prairie and its culture. Through his poetry and stories Stein attempts to provide the reader with an appreciation of the essence of the prairie, offering a more holistic understanding. We learn about day, night, weeds, drinking coffee, functioning, dependency, weather, life and death, and other things in terms of what they mean to native Oklahomans, at least as interpreted and conveyed by Stein. His transference is at work as is ours as we read his text.