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Arcade of Memory

Adult; Poetry; (Market)

Short essays, poetry, and short stories drawing from the author's experiences traveling throughout the world. Themes touched on include memory, the act of making meaning, history, perception, the passage of time, emotions, death, and global culture.
Giskin’s thoughtfully curated second collection of short stories and poetry (after Murmurings) serenely meanders through a patchwork tapestry of cultures, viewpoints, and travel experiences with a curious and open heart. In “Transcendence,” the author describes losing himself in the beauty of nature, while “Memory” questions how people create a sense of self. In poems such as “Travel,” the unmetered five-line structure of Japanese tanka is combined with contrasting imagery to capture the weight of Giskin’s global experiences with landscapes and cultures. Real-world experiences take a turn for the fantastic in short stories such as “A Touch of Dementia,” in which an elderly man daydreams more and more often about a rainy holiday in Puerto Rico with his late wife.

Each of the pieces ultimately serves as a jumping-off point for Giskin’s philosophy of life, which places tremendous importance on both respecting history and living in the moment. His poems (interspersed with quotes from other poets in a way that can occasionally be confusing) flow as beautifully as the natural surroundings they describe, but the short stories are the real gifts. Giskin has a lovely way of taking something ordinary and turning it into something magical, giving just enough interpretation that it’s easy for each reader to find personal meaning in the work.

Giskin deftly brings readers on a journey around the world and explores other cultures with a sense of wonder, always asking his readers to consider their own place within the larger picture. Above all, the collection emphasizes the power of imagination and the beauty in memories. Any reader looking to find surprise and joy in everyday life will find this collection inspiring.

Takeaway: Poetry fans and philosophers alike will enjoy this meditative and thought-provoking collection of introspective stories and poems.

Great for fans of Walt Whitman, Li Shangyin.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A-