Uncertain Mythologies: poems (Paperback)

Uncertain Mythologies: poems By James Alan Riley Cover Image
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"James Alan Riley's Uncertain Mythologies reverberates with a profound sense of time, rooted in the tangible experiences that form and inform our everyday lives. The collection embraces the interplay of light and shadow, life and death, where "the shadows add depth to the light," infusing depth into ordinary moments. Uncertain Mythologies blurs temporal boundaries and echoes timeless themes while holding the present in the light and shadows of the past.

"The first section is lush with landscape, haunted by the past and home. These poems radiate like 'the blue / pilot light from the gas furnace / flickering beneath the floor, ' an ephemeral feeling that quietly persists throughout the book as it raises questions of mortality, legacy, and the fleeting nature of time. Riley's words embody both the wisdom of age and the innocence of youth, probing how time shapes our lives, as in the poem 'Photograph, ' where ' t]he child does not understand / what is happening but the old man does.'

"Transitioning effortlessly from introspective moments to expansive landscapes, the poems traverse spaces from the kitchen to the porch, from starry skies to the interior of a Vista Cruiser, inviting readers to ponder how the past informs the present. Yet, amidst contemplation, there's a persistent reminder of the duality of human existence. Riley's book is full of blooming: from hydrangeas in need of pruning to 'the blood at the bottom of the pool / blossoming like a dark flower.' Where knockout roses bloom, they will also be cut and carried indoors. Riley uses these undercurrents to examine emotions, as in 'Grief"

We sometimes find ourselves

in strange and unexpected places,

confused by the ambient light,

the weight of water in our hands.

"The liminal space between who we are now and who we have been is the crux of the brilliance in these poems.

"The second section ushers in music and stories, calling to us through brush and leaves in need of clearing like a 'song in the tall grass calls our name.' These poems contain voices that harmonize the body with the natural world, the passing of time with living in the moment. In 'Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, ' Riley's lyrical movements shift us between now and then, a past that accompanies our present...

"As the collection progresses, the poet's voice transforms, as if the child from the first section has become the 'old man' who now thrives with grandchildren, driving them to school, taking them to Florida, navigating a changing world with wisdom and humor. Uncertain Mythologies culminates in a contemplation on life's cyclical nature, urging the reader to consider how we live in a present moment that is haunted-yet buoyed-by the past. Riley ends with a look towards the future, a return to the earth in] 'Planting the Trees'...

"In Uncertain Mythologies, Riley proves himself a modern-day mythmaker with poems that are both timely and timeless. Spend the afternoon with these poems and let them ask of you: 'Did you spend your time wisely?' It will be time well spent."-Sarah McCartt-Jackson, author of Stonelight and Calf Canyon

Product Details
ISBN: 9781945049408
ISBN-10: 1945049405
Publisher: Shadelandhouse Modern Press, LLC
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 98
Language: English