Ruminations: Stories, Essays & Poems
by James Garrison
Touchpoint Press

"How do you write about something that happened years ago–something you’d just as soon forget?"

In this collection of stories, essays, and poems, readers discover an authentic voice that documents one’s experiences in the Vietnam War, a long legal career, and other important travels. The collection opens with the insightful essay “Why I Write (Or the House My Father Built).” This essay examines the author’s road to writing and blends these insights with familial memories. Other stories like “The Poisoning” contemplate history and possess a mysterious air while sparing a thought for those that history is least likely to remember. As the collection concludes, readers encounter a series of poems. These poems utilize everything from a speaker’s lack of confidence in their writing to a speaker’s reflections about white guilt as their subject matter. They also rely on a variety of forms and possess a clear and reflective voice that mirrors the one in the stories and essays that appear at the collection’s beginning.

This book is a creative amalgamation of prose and poetry. The American South is an important setting in these poems and stories, and this location is significant because it becomes a point of reflection for the speaker at various points. The emotional and intellectual impact of the South on the speaker is just as evident as the impact of Vietnam and the Vietnam War. Thus, the collection transforms into a contemplation about the power of place and environment in one’s life. The natural world also becomes a steadying presence in many of the poems, reminding readers about the importance of taking the time to observe the birds and the land and embrace the messages they want humanity to hear. For readers looking for introspective essays and poems in a chaotic world, this book is the perfect read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home