Ash & Embers embodies the inherent messiness of life's journey, sorting detritus from treasures, identifying and naming memory, finding categories that reflect life's winding pathways and its treacherous footing. Taking his various roles--son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, teacher, citizen, believer, writer, and reader--as narrative stances, Zoller considers the details of life and its larger forces. Thematically complex, Ash & Embers accepts that the journey is translated through the often difficult tool of language; thus, it embraces the tension that language is inadequate, alien, and, paradoxically, a tool for recognition and understanding. In Zoller's poems how we speak about life--as physical passage, as spiritual pilgrimage, as imagined patterns, as emotional canvas, as interwoven narrative strands, and as social construct--all these voices meet in one conversation. Between ""Photographs"" that begins the book and ""Hard Copy"" that brings it to a close we find everything from first impressions to ""Second Knowings,"" from notes on the poems of Mao and Seamus Heaney to prayers to the God of time, eternity, and love. ""Once again, in Ash and Embers, James Zoller movingly offers the descriptive splendor of the natural world often contrasted to its use, or even misuse, in human constructs, (particularly in this volume by the intrusions of warfare), and the celebration of multi-generational family love amidst probing reflections on the passage of time--all couched in the poet's delightful phrasing, working of form, and embrace of his calling."" --James F. Wardwell, Houghton College ""In the richly imagined poems of Ash and Embers, Zoller extends and deepens the achievement of a life in poetry. Whether he writes of alchemy, the natural order of things, marriage, military science, or the poems of Mao, his carefully crafted words lodge in the reader's mind. They challenge and satisfy us intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually."" --John Leax, author of Recluse Freedom and Remembering Jesus James A. Zoller and wife, Donna, have lived in rural western New York for thirty-four years. They have raised four children and been homestay parents to two dozen international students. Zoller teaches writing and literature at Houghton College. His other books are Living on The Flood Plain and Simple Clutter.