poem index

book

The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems

Publisher

Knopf

Year

2010

Type

Poetry Book
The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems by Edward Hirsch
Printer-friendly version

Drawing from thirty-five years of Hirsch's work, across seven poetry collections, The Living Fire moves through themes of identity, childhood, desire, and absence. The poems carry an undercurrent of hope in even the darkest moments. In that light, perhaps, Hirsch's newest poems begin the collection. The newest work is that of tribute and memory; Hirsch addresses lost love, past travels, and aging, applying worldly knowledge and a literary sensibility to these themes. In the short poem "Last Saturday," for instance, a sense of existential foreboding colors a routine event, an exterminator's house call:

Then the doorbell rang suddenly,
like an alarm, on Saturday morning....

The sense of interruption which begins the poem instills gravity to the event. The poet's own fears reveal themselves in the second stanza:

but I never expected him to come
so early, without warning

This book review originally appeared in American Poets, fall 2010, issue 39.

more books

book
Anthology
Teaching with Fire
book
Poetry Book
Sweet Nothing by Nate Pritts
book
Poetry Book
Things on Which I've Stumbled by Peter Cole