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epub The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems –

A Rich And Significant Collection Of Than One Hundred Poems, Drawn From A Lifetime Of Wild Gratitude In PoetryIn Poems Chronicling Insomnia The Blue Rimmed Edge Of Outer Dark, Those Crossroads Where We Meet The Dead , Art And Culture Poems On Edward Hopper And Paul Celan, Love Poems In The Voices Of Baudelaire And Gertrude Stein, A Meditation On Two Suitcases Of Children S Drawings That Came Out Of The Terezin Concentration Camp , And His Own Experience, Including The Powerful, Frank Self Examinations In His Recent Work, Edward Hirsch Displays Stunning Range And Quality Repeatedly Confronting The Darkness, His Own Sense Of Godlessness Forgive Me, Faith, For Never Having Any , He Also Struggles With The Unlikely Presence Of The Divine, The Power Of Art To Redeem Human Transience, And The Complexity Of Relationships Throughout The Collection, His Own Life Trajectory Enriches The Poems He Is The Skinny, Long Beaked Boy Who Perched In The Branches Of The Old Branch Library, As Well As The Passionate Middle Aged Man Who Tells His Lover, I Wish I Could Paint You I Need A Brush For Your Hard Angles And Ferocious Blues And Reds I Wish I Could Paint You From The Waist Down Grieving For The Losses Occasioned By Our Mortality, Hirsch S Ultimate Impulse As A Poet Is To Praise To Wreathe Himself, As He Writes, In The Living Fire That Burns With A Ferocious Intensity

10 thoughts on “The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems

  1. says:

    After reading and enjoying many of this poet s earlier books, I picked up this one a new and collected gathering The best of his earlier poems are here, and the new poems are arresting and moving This is not a poet who hides his feelings in overjazzed language, nor cloaks his ideas in obscurity as many contemporary poets do Instead he has the courage of his craft, which makes his work accessible and moving.If you never read poetry because you don t know where to start, Hirsch will put you on the right road.

  2. says:

    InspiringA great collection from a fabulous poet This New and Selected includes poems dating from 1981 For the Sleepwalkers to shortly before its publication in 2010 There is a great variety of tone and form and subject matter here, really something for everyone.At the front there are some new poems, not printed in any other collection.Here are a few lines from Forebodings I don t mind the mindless fogbut my room at the top of the stairstilts like a broken boat at seaAll night I feel the homesick wavesand hear ravens scavenging in my sleep

  3. says:

    Just when I thought the poems couldn t get any better line breaks that made me go oh cadences that made me go ah diction and imagery and conceits that made me say yes yes yes Hirsch goes into form poems and blows me the frig away The Living Fire is a compilation of perhaps his greatest hits from previous collections Now I want to read the rest of those collections, having read only one before.

  4. says:

    One of the best books of poetry I ve ever read It s absolutely beautiful.

  5. says:

    Reverent and plain, praising and ordinary all at the same time I don t know why I like this poet s voice, I just like it I hear his academic tone in many of the poems but it doesn t either enhance or de enhance my reading of him it is just his voice, calm, clear, masculine, crafting poetry from the ordinary and wild gratitude infusing so many of them He is not afraid of emotion, nor of struggle and growth, nor of human frailty, or of anything, and it feels like a primal fearlessness that belongs to all of us Song Against Natural Selection The weak survive A man with a damaged arm, a house missing a single brick, one step torn away from the other steps the way I was once torn away from you this hurts us, it isn t what we d imagined, what we d hoped for when we were young and still hoping for, still imagining things, but we manage, we survive Sure, losing is hard work, one limb severed at a time makes it that much harder to get around the city, another word dropped from our vocabularies and the remaining words are that much heavier on our tongues, that much further from ourselves, and yet people go on talking, speech survives It isn t easy giving up limbs, trying to manage with that much less to eat each week, that much money we know we ll never make, things we not only can t buy, but can t afford to look at in the stores this hurts us, and yet we manage, we survive so that losing itself becomes a kind of song, our song, our only witness to the way we die, one day at a time a leg severed, a word buried this is how we recognize ourselves, and why.A CHINESE VASESometimes I think that my body is a vaseWith me in it, a blue tiled Chinese vaseThat I return to, sometimes, in the rain.It s raining hard, but inside the little china vaseThere is clean white water circling slowlyThrough the shadows like a flock of yellow geeseCircling over a small lake, or like the lake itselfRuffled with wind and geese in a light rainThat is not dirty, or stained, or even ruffled byThe medley of motors and oars and sometimes even sailsThat are washed each summer to her knees It s rainingIn the deep poplars and in the stand of gray pines It s snowing in the mountains, in the Urals, in theWastes of Russia that have edged off into China The rain has turned to sleet and the sleetHas turned to snow in the sullen black cloudsThat have surfaced in the cracks of that ChineseVase, in the wrinkles that have widened like riversIn that vase of china It s snowing harder and harderNow over the mountains, but inside the mountainsThere is a sunlit cave, a small cave, perhaps,Like a monk s cell, or like a small pondWith geese and with clear mountain water inside Sometimes I think that I come back to my bodyThe way a penitent or a pilgrim or a poetOr a whore or a murderer or a very young girlComes for the first time to a holy placeTo kneel down, to forget the impossible weightOf being human, to drink clear water FALLFall, falling, fallen That s the way the seasonChanges its tense in the long haired maplesThat dot the road the veiny hand shaped leavesRedden on their branches in a fiery competitionWith the final remaining cardinals and thenBegin to sidle and float through the air, at lastSettling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.At twilight the light, too, is layered in the treesIn a season of odd, dusky congruences a scarlet tanagerAnd the odor of burning leaves, a golden retrieverLoping down the center of a wide street and the sunSetting behind smoke filled trees in the distance,A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloudBlamelessly filling the space with purples EverythingChanges and moves in the split second between summer sSprawling past and winter s hard revision, one momentPulling out of the station according to schedule,Another moment arriving on the next platform ItHappens almost like clockwork the leaves drift awayFrom their branches and gather slowly at our feet,Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins movingAround us even as its colorful weather moves us,Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets And every year there is a brief, startling momentWhen we pause in the middle of a long walk home andSuddenly feel something invisible and weightlessTouching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies It is the changing light of fall falling on us.Two Scholarly Love Poems1 Dead Sea Scrolls I was like the words on a papyrus apocryphon buried in a cave at Qumran,and you were the scholar I had been waiting for all my life, the one readerwho unravelled the scrolls and understood the language and deciphered its mysteries.Incandescence at Dusk Homage to Dionysius the Areopagite There is fire in everything,shining and hidden Or so the saint believed And I believe the saint Nothing stays the samein the shimmering heatOf dusk during Indian summer in the country.Out here it is possible to perceiveThat those brilliant red weltsslashed into the horizonAre like a drunken whipwhistling across a horse s back,And that round ball flaring in the treesIs like a coal sizzlingin the mouth of a desert prophet.Be careful.Someone has called the orange leavessweeping off the branchesThe colorful palmprints of Godbrushing against our faces.Someone has called the banked pilesof twigs and twisted veinsThe handprints of the underworldGathering at our ankles and burningthrough the soles of our feet.We have to bear the sunset deep inside us.I don t believe in ultimate things.I don t believe in the inextinguishable lightof the other world.I don t believe that we will be lifted upand transfixed by radiance.One incandescent dusky world is all there is.But I like this vigilant saintWho stood by the river at nightfallAnd saw the angels descendingas burnished mirrors and fiery wheels,As living creatures of fire,as streams of white flame 1500 years in his wake,I can almost imaginehis disappointment and joyWhen the first cool windstarts to rise on the prairie,When the soothing blue rain beginsto fall out of the cerulean night.

  6. says:

    Excellent I read a copy from the library but I will buy my own now that I have seen how wonderful it is.

  7. says:

    There is no better poet in my view writing today, and one of the least affected or arrogant poets I have ever met Instantly, once a poet achieves the acclaim or muscle that Hirsch has achieved, they act like they are the new men or women of letters Yet, for ME, Merwin among others, are poet s poets but not as well received for non poetry readers Levine was of a Walt Whitman, a poet of the street and Hirsch echoes that but for ME with of an eloquence at times, but with that wry almost self deprecating sense of humour I just announced on facebook why I love this man I include that below and an example of Hirsch being Hirsch at his best ANY or many of us could have written these emotions, and with humor, but perhaps not with his grace palidrome is I love me, vol l Why I just thought of this, I dunno, but I wanted to share why I love Edward Hirsch He was very generous to us at our seminar in Paterson a fine teacher, a good guy I had been stupid in a remark his face is that open, he is that open I apologized, he said no need I don t know him that well, but for me he is the real deal, the kind of human I aspire to be and the kind of writer I shall never be One of the reasons why is this poem, from his collected dig it are so many of these sort of poems, he is blessed with the gift of the pen, and we as readers are blessed because of his sharing our world.Laurie Byro

  8. says:

    13 new poems and selections from 7 other works For the Sleepwalkers, Wild Gratitude, Night Parade, Earthly Measures, On Love, Lay Back the Darkness, Special Orders I enjoy reading chronological poetry anthologies Often, but not always, the poems either follow each other with ease or the sections are somewhat themed and a poet s development can be studied Also, there s often that nuanced sense of autobiography Or, perhaps just the eras of feelings a poet has lived through Anger, hope, satisfaction, sadness at loss, unraveling These may be invented and they may be real The reader hovers at the edges of the poet s psyche, but opposite real life, can t see the action or the events, only the thoughts that are exposed What stays in my mind insomniac wakefulness, walking urban rural night haze darkness, being behind a window and feeling the boundlessness of nature sky stars, fire fieriness flame Moments fleeting moments that last forever He bares himself, and just as you feel you are being allowed to see him, he escapes Brilliant Just plain brilliant.

  9. says:

    This is the first volume of Hirsch s that I ve read He has an interesting way of writing that I think is quite distinct while some of his poems are reminiscent of Mary Oliver or other nature poets, he adds a certain element of sensuality or sadness to them There s quite a bit of nostalgia, memory, insomnia, and solemnity in his poems.

  10. says:

    I m glad this poet came my way through a third hand recommendation I m not always thrilled with mainstream academic poets, but there is a heart felt authenticity in much of what Hirsch writes, and a few gems scattered throughout this collection, e.g., Because it is dusk, Yes, dusk with its desperate colors of erasure.