The Wheel

AM Ringwalt

 

ISBN 978-1-952419-53-9          124 pages           $16.00

 

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Moving between alert autobiographical commentary and languorous, translucent reportage, Ringwalt’s book offers us an equally cerebral and sensual documentation of the many lived labors, losses and latencies of making meaning across the disciplines of dance, music, architecture and poetry. Reminiscent of the memoirist and poetic narratives of Chris Kraus, Sophie Calle and Roland Barthes, and possessing the quotidian, frank persuasiveness of Frank O’Hara or Bernadette Mayer, The Wheel is a hydra. It is a mourning diary, an inventory, a mix tape, a love letter, an archive of correspondence, a tourist’s album, an occultist’s chronicle, a devout student’s reading journal, a family history, a long goodbye and also an invitation to listen. The book asks us to listen to the peals of resonant symbols emanating all around us—in the stone pines, in the softness of pillows, in the brightness of flowers peeking out from cliffs, in the arrangement of the Tarot, in the grace of a dancer’s movement and in the resplendent aches of attraction and separation. The Wheel is written with easeful and luminous intelligence. It is brimming with a luxuriant curiosity about how a life may be lived in art-making, as a long, abundant and gorgeously profane vigil.

     Divya Victor, author of Kith and Curb

 

In Ringwalt’s gorgeously ambitious book, The Wheel, awakening is not a thing to be attained; it is a perpetual unfolding—both backwards and forwards—through time. These pages do not so much contain language but rather a dream of language, conveying something without actually being able to say it. It is a work of divination in the truest sense, a speech ‘to fill this space with bells, with olive trees.’ And just as we disappear within its descent, we find grace.

     Janaka Stucky, author of Ascend Ascend and publisher of Black Ocean

 

AM Ringwalt’s words give us talismans for so many occasions, turns of phrase, verbal images to tuck away for later, for now, for the past as it returns again. In reading The Wheel you become caught in its rhythms as it delves into the whirlpool of stories we each contain and must, at some point, reckon with. Ringwalt invokes a number of artists and writers in her journey but none more than Dante himself, giving us a touch of religion with the magic, and playing Virgil herself as she carries us through a reflection of the un-doing and rebuilding that our lives so often are.

     Allison Grimaldi Donahue, translator of Carla Lonzi’s Self-portrait

 

Circling through memory, trauma, love and creation, AM Ringwalt’s The Wheel leads with an I that is ‘ambivalent and vigilant at once’—one whose capacity to embody rigor and uncertainty compels a dynamic between author and reader akin to the two-way transmission of a live performance. Are you with me? she asks, slicing through the poly-vocal weave of first-person narrative, poems, emails, photographs and embedded quotations. Such moments of direct address in The Wheel are both bracing and generous, letting readers decide whether to re-enforce or transcend their own imagined borders. In this vibrant, collaborative book, Ringwalt rejects repressive frameworks and fixed categories in favor of flux states, and the possibilities of breaking through, of connection. I keep returning to The Wheel, exhilarated by the pleasure of ‘attending to a turning thing… a moving thing’ with Ringwalt, and by the shocks of discovery that accompany each reading.

     Bridget Talone, author of A Soft Life

 

AM Ringwalt’s The Wheel is a gentle invitation to listen, to listen to life as a song, as a constellation of songs. Reaching out in time and space, The Wheel gracefully embraces us with the touch of the human and the divine, guiding us to cross familiar states of presence and move towards the discovery of deeper possible ones.

     Poupeh Missaghi, author of trans(re)lating house one

 

 

 

Hannah Hall

AM Ringwalt is a writer and musician. Her creative and critical writing appears in Jacket2, Black Warrior Review, Washington Square Review and Bennington Review. Called “unsettling” by NPR and “haunted” by The Wire, Waiting Song is her most recent record.