Along with a handful of the best poems in the book, it confirms Morgan as a talented invoker of the sometimes seismic minutiae of our everyday lives. These are moments of grace in an ordinary world Often Morgan's is a fruitful world where presences can be felt in absences, like sunlight in a dusty guest room, but it's also a world of grave uncertainty These are quiet poems, yet the perceptions can be breathtaking in their beauty and accuracy The main themes of her poetry are loss, loneliness and what remains unspoken.
She describes her subject-matter as being 'family and ancestry, the domestic space, the secrets of hidden lives'. One hundred years to the day since it started. Thirteen years since pneumonia hushed her to sleep. I can still feel the weight of your whole body. When I tell you Run along now, be careful.
These stories are set primarily in Appalachia, but might as well be in limbo or hell.
We live in a harsh world where many are born with their luck already drained in towns like a ravenous quicksand, and Ron Rash brings a wide variety of damned souls, from civil war soldiers to present day teenagers, to beauty with clear cut words and quiet demeanor that make them shine like even the brightest of stars. Jody had watched other classmates Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. Each story is true to this notion and we watch fleeting lives blown about by the winds, nearly powerless to the forces around it, or perhaps not unable but unwilling to resist.
There is a refreshing versatility to his tales, with varied faces set over a wide timeline that demonstrates the common thread of humanity in all of us. What better a metaphor for the fragility of our existence in the storm of life than the succinct and haunting Something Rich and Strange where a young girl drowns in a raging river, intending only to take a few steps in yet overcome by the current. We all become victims to the river of time, our lives washed away forever.
The response by the diver who finds her body is us, the reader, seeing a corpse stripped of flesh but a testament of beauty and serenity having lived, lost and vanished. Perhaps the bleakest of moments are those where all shreds of decency are tossed aside for the sake of survival, such as the title story where two young men rob their former employer to cash in on another fix. His transgressions as a poor boss, or the fact that he is dead and rotting in his own home, serve to justify their actions instead of humanize them all.
Rash reaches for the heart and often punches you in the gut on the way there, and we are all better for it. The river flows smoothly onward, lulling us in its wake. However, these are rivers that tease the ocean and refuse the delta, often avoiding direct mention of the dark heart at their center. Always writing in a circuitous manner around the dark impetus or past of the story builds great tension and keeps the story moving by way of mystery, but is also overused and becomes a bit of its own cliche when the stories are read in bulk.
It occasionally feels like pulling teeth. The language is simple, economic and straightforward, and while there are few outstanding moments it is bathed in a tender humility that easily breaches the fortitutes of the reader's heart. Each story tends to end with a surprise, bleak twist. While I personally enjoy a depraved, gut-wrenching ending, these somehow feel a bit contrite and expected when reading straight through.
The high school sweetheart meth story has the collegiate boyfriend throw his future away to stay and do meth just to rot away with the one he loves. The Trustee , however, is a wonderful example on how the dark twist ending works to the stories benefit as it really drives the memory of the tale deep into the reader where they will never forget it.
What truly rescues Rash from mediocrity and propels him into brilliance is his keen insight into his own strengths, which he mines for pure gold. Cherokee is a prime example of this. The story follows a couple on their desperate attempt to save their Ford Ranger I had a particular empathy for this story as my own first vehicle was a forest green, Ford Ranger which I lovingly dubbed The Danger Ranger to embrace all its flaws, dents, cracked windshield and the way it brought me to truly love music note for note in all its intricacies as the volume would constantly turn itself to max regardless of any finagling with the dials by gambling all they own at a casino.
The couple is like many of us, and many of the other Rash characters, who spend their entire days working themselves into exhaustion yet have nothing to show for it. Dostoevsky has you clenching your teeth along with his narrator so intensely they may burst free from your skull, but here the rise and fall of their winnings has minimal emotion attached to it. It is no surprise to anyone, especially the reader, when in the morning beerlight the man is found in the grips of a hazardous gambling addiction. While Ron Rash may fall into his own cliches, he has a gift of economy and self-assurance that paves the road to literary enjoyment.
I strongly urge any reader to walk this path, though it is beset on all sides by the tyranny, evil, and apathy of what could have been good women and men. Crisp, clear and contemplative, Rash explores the darkness in the hills of Appalachia as well as the human heart and brings out pure gold, but the kind that can stay.
He touched what once had been a hand. The river whispered to him that it would not be long now. View all 21 comments. Dec 24, Brian rated it it was amazing. One of the reasons short fiction is my favorite genre is the requisite economy of words an author must employ. My solid measuring stick of fantastic writing is reaching the end of a story and getting that unsettled just what the fuck is going on here feeling - a sensation that can come from something genre-stretching from Ben Marcus as much as a writer penning a piece in a cl One of the reasons short fiction is my favorite genre is the requisite economy of words an author must employ.
My solid measuring stick of fantastic writing is reaching the end of a story and getting that unsettled just what the fuck is going on here feeling - a sensation that can come from something genre-stretching from Ben Marcus as much as a writer penning a piece in a classical style. Ron Rash is one of the latter and one of the most talented writers in the genre today.
Rash's southern roots show in all of the pieces in this collection - and that's a good thing. Those djinns aren't hidden from him - he can write a heartbreaking piece set in the shadow of the Civil War as well as a modern day love story centered around meth. He could teach a doctorate course on how to write dialogue. And then there are those passages that catch the reader unaware. The eyes mist, the throat lumps: Maybe it's because the picture's a little blurry, but one second I see something in Kerrie's face that reminds me of when she was a baby, then something else reminds me of her in first grade and after that high school.
It's like the slightest flicker or shift makes ones show more than the other. But that's not it, I realize. All those different faces are inside me, not on the screen, and I can't help thinking that if I remember every one, enough of Kerrie's alive inside me to keep safe the part that isn't. That's from the story "Twenty-Six Days" in this collection; a mother's thoughts after a Skype video chat with a daughter deployed in Iraq.
Any reader that comes across this paragraph that has ever held these fragmented images of a child far away, rarely seen, can understand exactly what Rash is talking about regardless of the situation surrounding that part of us that is growing older. This is what we talk about when we talk about love. Rash is about to become so very much more famous when the movie Serena is released later this year, and he deserves all of the attention he will get from penning a great novel that became that movie.
But it is the short stories that have me in his orbit. I entreat you to sample his work. You won't be disappointed. View all 15 comments. Pretty dark short stories, Rash' style. Rash is a master in telling short stories. I think he might be even outshining himself compared to his novels. He can set a scene without too many words like no other, and eventhough many of his characters are just doomed to begin with, still they manage to enlighten their lives and the reader's a little bit, just to be thrown back into the abyss right after again.
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Some dark humor comes into play, but most often it is the despair, hope or love of the char Pretty dark short stories, Rash' style. Some dark humor comes into play, but most often it is the despair, hope or love of the characters that comes through. View all 7 comments.
Ron Rash's prose is beautiful. Nothing but Gold Can Stay, is a book of short stories, with settings in Appalachia, and time frames ranging from the Civil War to present. Rash does not write psycho thrillers or violent murder mysteries. He does not need heart stopping events to keep the reader immersed in the story. He writes about life, hope, lust, failure, friendships and hardships.
His characters seem like someone you've known or maybe want to know and his descriptive writing allows me to see Ron Rash's prose is beautiful. His characters seem like someone you've known or maybe want to know and his descriptive writing allows me to see a tear on a cheek, a trout in a stream, steam coming from a horse's nostrils in winter, or the setting sun reflecting from a pond. This book of short stories and Ron Rash's work in general are worth reading. I highly recommend him. View all 4 comments. There never seemed to be a breeze, pond and shore equally smoothed.
Just stillness, as though the world had taken a soft breath, and was holding it in, and even time had leveled out, moving neither forward nor back. Ranging from the time of the Civil War through to the present day, the stories occur in a feast of Appalachian settings: Tennessee mountains, small town, a river between Georgia and South Carolina, a casino, a farm near the Tennessee border, a college campus, a slope in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a derelict old house, a pond and more. Rash is a consummate storyteller who gives his reader a marvellous cast of characters: The stories are filled with twists, amusing plays on language and accent, black humour, irony and, of course, beautiful prose.
Rash will cause the reader to think about deception, theft, loyalty, feuds, gambling, hopelessness, revenge, physical beauty and ageing. I wasn't sure if his stories would follow the same path of his novels, his brutal honesty in his treatment of his characters and his at times rather violent twists.
One has to think when reading these stories, he leaves much out and never sets the reader on a clear path. Some of them do not have definitive endings and it is up to the readers interpretation to figure out what happen 3. Some of them do not have definitive endings and it is up to the readers interpretation to figure out what happened or will happen. These are different and though there is some humor I would not say these stories are read for fun, they are read for a great sense of time and place, interesting characters that can alternately be both victim and villain.
They are read because Rash is just plain good. Only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is a couple of the stories did not interest me and were DNF. The bulk of the stories are 5ers, though.
'Observer' poems - Hello Poetry
While I still have trouble with some of Rash's endings SO oblique , the stories are beautifully written and the characters are so deftly drawn, I can still enjoy line, if not the last one. He is one of the best American writers to capture the South and the Appalachian region. You can tell he truly cares about the down-and-out folks he creates.
We again see drugs creep into this collection the major theme in an earlier collection "Burning Bright" , as well as spot-on dialog and beautiful passages depicting nature. A favorite, the opening from "The Woman at the Pond": Reminds me of Rick Bass. So, read this collection if you love short stories and rural American stories. Trustees, Englishmen in Appalachia, ex-Union soldiers courtin' a Confederate colonel's daughter.
I like me some gritty Southern fiction now and then, and Ron Rash delivers, though he's not quite Daniel Woodrell or William Faulkner, at least not yet. But this collection of sixteen short stories was very listenable, very varied and flavorful, and while not quite popping 5-star greatness for me, it satisfied my yearning so I will definitely check out more by him. All set in the Appalachians, these are stories are about hard, surviving mountain people.
They range from a post-Civil War story abou I like me some gritty Southern fiction now and then, and Ron Rash delivers, though he's not quite Daniel Woodrell or William Faulkner, at least not yet. They range from a post-Civil War story about a preacher called upon to make a gruesome sacrifice to heal his still-divided community, to modern times, with promising college-bound young teenagers unable to escape the gravity of poverty and meth, or a scarred former schoolteacher who finds solace only on the night shift at a radio station.
In very few of these stories do things end well. Not all of them even have much of an ending. But this is a nice bit of recrafted Appalachian lore, both modern and period. View all 3 comments. Jan 29, Shaun rated it it was amazing Shelves: Ron Rash is a literary genius. But seriously, Ron Rash is a literary genius, at least in my book. This collection of short stories will not disappoint Rash's fans and is sure to earn him some new ones.
Though I thought all the stories were quite strong, I especially enjoyed reading "Something Rich and Strange" which served as the inspiration for his novel Saints at the River.
Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories
View all 5 comments. Feb 20, Lou rated it it was amazing Shelves: When you think of this authors writings you rekindle a great canvas dealing with memorable characters pitted into diversity with very human dilemmas, you have a great landscape as the backdrop, the characters just come alive, live, and breath off the page with his own crafted ability to spin a tale with a terrible beauty, a potent language, a prose evocative and lush, darkly poetic and a cast of characters with flaws like many humans on this earth.
This collection has all these qualities mention When you think of this authors writings you rekindle a great canvas dealing with memorable characters pitted into diversity with very human dilemmas, you have a great landscape as the backdrop, the characters just come alive, live, and breath off the page with his own crafted ability to spin a tale with a terrible beauty, a potent language, a prose evocative and lush, darkly poetic and a cast of characters with flaws like many humans on this earth. This collection has all these qualities mentioned in its storytelling.
You will find characters in these stories who were prisoners, young wives unhappy, men strapped for cash, gamblers trying their luck with lucky charms, fugitives on the run in the wilderness, kin loved and missed in a war effort, pals out for a hunt, characters in schooling while others cooking meth in a disused house, youngsters misbehaving, a pastor asking others to forgive after the confederate war and a radio DJ who was once a young daughter ashamed to smile.
This was a short story collection that one might find they will hold in high esteem in a prized position on their shelf, to take down to read often on a solemn and silent night. A few words on some of the stories. The Trusty A trusty of a chain gang fetches water for the thirsty men in a near by farm. That farm has a beautiful young woman greet him and soon they both hatch to escape from their prisons. He has a slight of hand problem that steals from others. Descriptive and well written, with a keen sense of place and drama. Something Rich and Strange Gothic tale on a woman lost to sea and a divers seeing of her in various stages of her bodies disappearance.
Where the Map Ends After the civil war two fugitives on the run, one black the other mixed race encounter a farmer he tells of his loss in life and he gives them an important route to safety but there is one catch. Well done story and all happening as if you are there right in the scene. Twenty-Six Days A couple clean for a living and during their work you are taken through their emotions and concern for their daughter who is a solider in another part of the world.
Thanksgiving approaching and they hope not to have that dreaded call informing them she has been killed or hurt. First person narrative on a parents concern and love for the safe return of their child. A Sort of Miracle A few pals go out into the mountains to hunt bear. One finds himself in a trap, an icy kind of affair. The Dowry The union war has gone now, a pastor ventures out to pay a visit on request to ask a colonel to give his daughter his blessing and permission to marry a man that the father wishes to try an kill again, one that had belonged to the people he fought against in the war.
Her Red Zone collection of poems about urban homelessness has been taught at Vancouver Island University and elsewhere. Born and raised in Oregon, with a biology degree from University of Oregon, Kim moved to Canada with her family during the Vietnam War years. She has remained on Vancouver Island ever since where she is active in anti-war efforts, homelessness issues and urban art. Kung Fu for Writers combining martial arts movements with creative writing exercises to awaken the body and unleash the mind. Catherine Owen is a Vancouver writer, the author of nine collections of poetry and one of environmental and poetic essays and.
Heidi Greco lives in South Surrey, about a mile from the invisible line that divides Canada from the U. She is a long-time environmentalist and has written about her beliefs and concerns in essays, blog posts, and poems.
Her poetry collection, Rattlesnake Plantain Anvil Press, Vancouver , takes its title from a forest orchid which is considered rare in some places, but that still exists in her bioregion. Other books are Siren Tattoo , Shrinking Violets , and several chapbooks.
She keeps a sporadic blog at www. Kate Braid has muddled about in the intersection between loving trees and being responsible for cutting down whole forests full — as a carpenter and builder — for years. Her memoir of fifteen years as a carpenter, Journey Woman, is forthcoming in Her work has won and been short-listed for a number of awards and is widely anthologized. Find out more on her website: Introducing A Sense of Place: A visitor can call up a Google Earth map of Washington and see a map with pins indicating the locations of poems all over the state.
Each pin can be zoomed in on and opened to a photograph and a full text, attributed poem with information about the poet. David McCloskey is a long-time bioregionalist. In search of the spirit of place, he has also compiled an anthology of Cascadian Poetry in 4 movements: Your email address will not be published. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Washington Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken.