Weaving together universal themes of family, geography, and death with images of America's frontier landscape, former Kentucky Poet Laureate Joe Survant has been lauded for his ability to capture the spirit of the land and its people. Kliatt magazine has praised his work, stating, “Survant's words sing…. This is storytelling at its best.”
Exploring the pre-Columbian and frontier history of the commonwealth, The Land We Dreamed is the final installment in the poet's trilogy on rural Kentucky. The poems in the book feature several well-known figures and their stories, reimagining Dr. Thomas Walker's naming of the Cumberland Plateau, Mary Draper Ingles's treacherous journey from Big Bone Lick to western Virginia following her abduction by Native Americans, and Daniel Boone's ruminations on the fall season of 1770. Survant also explores the Bluegrass from the perspectives of the chiefs of the Shawnee and Seneca tribes.
Drawing on primary documents such as the seventeenth-century reports of French Jesuit missionaries, excerpts from the Draper manuscripts, and the journals of pioneers George Croghan and Christopher Gist, this collection surveys a broad and under-recorded history. Poem by poem, Survant takes readers on an imaginative expedition — through unspoiled Shawnee cornfields, down the wild Ohio River, and into the depths of the region's ancient coal seams.