EVERY STONE IN THE RIVER by Alessandra Diridoni Grigsby


Email this review


A floodtide of microstories that aim to catch--as turning points, emotive instances or sheer imagery--moments in Grigsby's life.

In over 80 short pieces of prose and poetry--most just a page or two long, written over a 30-year span--Grigsby takes measure of the "stones" (people, places, events) she has bumped into on life's waterway. These are personal conjurings, and what makes them glow is their provocation of the reader's fast-held memories--the author's voice reflects universal qualities, and acts as a flint ready to spark a personal fire. She might display the fun loopiness of A.A. Milne's "Disobedience": "Off we went, big sis, baby brother / on or way to the corner store. / Lots of trouble we got in then– / he was only two, and I, only four." She will also reveal the pain of a friend moving away, the disappointment of a trusty canoe getting splintered, or the ground floor fear of dying alone. Hope is a vulnerability, if indispensable: "Hold fast…/ it is now everything." A worldly pluck will give purpose: "To find a jot of humor / in the morass of absurdity / is the essence of / one woman’s existence." There are also some lazy observations: "But the eagle soars– / for he is free," which is not only hackneyed but also no truer than for any other living thing. She rebounds, however, with a sweet tribute to her son: "...Learning was freedom / and beauty in his hands." Here, the notion of freedom has some genuine reverb. Then there are the snippets, lines that can stand on their own, of the "creped wings" under the arms of an older woman; or the grade-school teacher's black dress with lacing "hinting a / shock of chartreuse underneath"; or the lovely line, "This year is old and / listing by now."

Memories as elemental as stones, for sure--of food, love, places, children, childhood, longing.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-9744064-0-6
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: