Synopses & Reviews
The poems in Slow Fire use original and compelling language to create experiences so real that the reader can inhabit them. This poet can delight in a “loitering” saxophone or a twelfth-century stone prayer hut, but much of her attention—her “eye” of close observation and precise language—is tuned to the natural world.
With a lifelong interest in ecology and outdoor experience from Maine to Arizona, Pamela Alexander incorporates specifics of desert and forest into her lines. Whatever the subject of the poem, from the death of a mother to marriage to real estate (James Merrill called her choice of subjects “impeccably democratic”), this is a book with an environmental consciousness and a liveliness of language that engages the reader on many levels.
Pamela Alexander is the author of three previous collections. Her first, Navigable Waterways, a Yale Younger Poets selection, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. After teaching for many years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she joined the faculty of Oberlin College, where she is co-editor of FIELD magazine. An avid outdoorswoman, Alexander often finds the beginnings of poems as she bikes, hikes, kayaks, and cross-country skis. She divides her time between Ohio and Ontario, Canada.
Simultaneously comic and profound, this is the fourth book by a Yale Younger Poets winner.
Poetry. "In this collection of poems, Pamela Alexander explores the earth and its elements. The fire of the title is most explicitly the body's slow burn, cell-fire; but the book itself burns with an urgency that is both expansive and deep. Packed with linguistic delights and surprises that leave no room for the reading mind to go slack, the book begins with grief and moves through a wide range of human emotion that includes genuinely witty responses to love both lost and found, exploration and deliberate disorientation of the personal and linguistic self, and outrage at the materialism of American culture. But the most compelling movement of the book lies in its increasingly profound dialogue with the earth itself"-Martha Collins.
About the Author
Author of three previous works, Pamela Alexander is currently the Co-Director of the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College and the editor of Field Magazine. Winner of the Yale Younger Poets Award, she has been awarded fellowships from the Bunting institute, the MacDowell colony and has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop.