HOME/BODY by Georgia Ressmeyer. Pebblebrook Press, 2017.
Review by Kaylee Binninger
HOME/BODY is separated into four parts each containing extremely detailed descriptions of surrounding areas in nature and everyday life battles. The subject of the book is exactly what it states: the home and the body. It ties together the human body, the home (common objects such as furniture) and nature throughout the poems. It implies that home and body are two separate entities, but we familiarize our body as a home. One example from the poem “Lowly” is the first stanza and second stanza.
“You stoop but do not crouch / over the first patch of trout lilies / blooming in the woods by the river. // The trout lilies stoop as well, / their delicate star flowers dangling / on thread –like stems to face the ground / as if Earth and their own spotted leaves / were the most interesting objects / for study in this whole airy world.”
Here we have the simplicities of everyday nature in reflection with the body that we call home.
Ressmeyer’s poems are beautiful and heartfelt but also capture reality and darker times. In order to really appreciate the life in itself, one must go through good and bad times. In the poem “Alone with Cancer” we get a glimpse on the author’s point of view on cancer. “I shall remain silent, not rail / against my fate, my cancer, / but serenely plot to be healthy, / eat better, learn to relax.”
Another capture of harsh reality is in the poem “At the Motel Restaurant” where the mother of the author is suffering from dementia. You can feel the toll it has taken mentally on the author to see the woman who raised her headed in a downward spiral we call life. “I tell myself to loosen up, go as / loopy as she does, always / keeping in mind that I’m not / the conductor, and life is a circle.“
Each poem throughout the book is unique. Some are more simplistic, others are more complex. There is no clear rhythm and repetition in poem and stanza length. The poems act as their own entity but put together work really well for this book. One of my personal favorite poems is called “Addicted.” The entire poem is one stanza and talks about various addictions. “So who’s to say what is or isn’t an acceptable trip / when we’re all addicted to something / or someone, and most get away with it?”
Some strengths I saw in this book were the many subjects discussed, the beauty and compassion and struggles in life. I believe each placement of the poem had a purpose. It would switch back and forth between light-hearted descriptive nature scenes and deep saddening realities of the mind and body. Life, just like this book has its ups and downs so I believe the author was trying to convey life in a book. Ressmeyer did a really good job executing her surroundings, thoughts and feelings into this book.