Ron Riekki has lived in the world's back alleys, prisons, ambulances, far flung hell holes, with the Navy and the Air Force, as an EMT or a standup comedian, a teacher, a student—but he's a writer and a poet above all else, and he writes about life, death, hope, despair, God, and madness in a way nobody else can. Hilarious, provocative, and often devastating, but always honest, always real. This book is a fever dream with no cure.
—Steve Hamilton, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lock Artist and Dead Man Running
Ron Riekki's voice is savage, funny, angry, and very often mesmerizing. With this what-the-hell-is-this-exactly collection, he's written a deeply American and triumphantly strange examination of our national character—also known as 'the mess we're in.' I both admire and am baffled by this wonderful little book.
—Tom Bissell, journalist, author of God Lives in St. Petersburg: and Other Stories and co-author ofThe Disaster Artist
Ron Riekki writes with wit and charm, but also the backbone of a plowman unafraid to carve up the earth, or shape it. Whether writing about EMTs, teaching the literary arts to inmates, or struggling with the politics of academia, he digs in and gets his hands dirty, telling it like it is, but also how it should be. While these pieces are non-fiction, they remind me a lot of the prose poems of James Tate. They start off in one direction, but when you follow them and finally think you know where you’re going, they take you somewhere else, somewhere you need to be more than you might have realized. Posttraumatic is a wonderful collection, well worth the experience.
—Ace Boggess, author of I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So and The Prisoners
I know of no American writer of my generation more fiercely honest, convincing, and articulate about frustration and disappointment than Ron Riekki. Not one. This book will teach you a thing or two about endurance. And you’ll come to know one fellow human being—this pissed, brilliantly wise-ass, insightful, and genuinely compassionate writer—deeply, which is Riekki’s ultimate grace and gift to readers.
—Jonathan Johnson, author of Hannah and the Mountain
If you ever get the chance to hang out with Ron Riekki, he will seem like a young and energetic guy. If you read Posttraumatic: A Memoir, he will seem even more energetic, yet he seems to have lived a hundred long lives – he has been in a couple branches of the military; he seems to have a bunch academic degrees from everywhere, but he has only had marginal academic jobs; he has published all over the small press scene; he knows and has acted in film; he has travelled our entire globe and remembers everything he has seen. He can range from complaint to praise on one page. Hell, he can do it in one sentence! And he writes like Henry Miller on speed. “Write how you talk when you argue. Write how you fuck.” Start Posttraumatic, and you’ll be finished before you put it down.
—Keith Taylor, author of The Bird-while
It wasn't that long ago that I was supposed to go to the Arctic with Ron Riekki to talk to scientists, take down their stories and tell a few of my own. It never happened. But now we have Posttraumatic: A Memoir and I will soon be hiding in the dark with a copy and a flashlight, traveling to all the places that only this proud son of the U.P. can take the reader.
—Rafael Alvarez, author of Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown