Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Living Fire” as Want to Read:
The Living Fire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Living Fire

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  82 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
A rich and significant collection of more than one hundred poems, drawn from a lifetime of “wild gratitude” in poetry.

In 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 suitcas
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Knopf
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Living Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Living Fire

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 276)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Harper Curtis
Nov 27, 2013 Harper Curtis rated it it was amazing
A 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 fog
but my room at the top of the stairs
tilts like a broken boat at sea

All night I feel the h
Stephen Kiernan
Mar 19, 2012 Stephen Kiernan rated it it was amazing
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 yo
May 04, 2016 Shannon rated it it was amazing
One of the best books of poetry I've ever read. It's absolutely beautiful.
Laurie Byro
Jan 27, 2016 Laurie Byro rated it it was amazing
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 more of a Walt Whitman, a poet of the "street" and Hirsch echoes that but for ME with more of an eloquence at times, but with that w ...more
Christina Rau
Aug 28, 2015 Christina Rau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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.
Dec 20, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it
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 b ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Mmars rated it really liked it
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, satis
JJ Aitken
Aug 09, 2014 JJ Aitken rated it it was amazing
Gleaming, crystal, crystal clear poetry that accomplish’s that magic ability to somehow lead me to believe that these were episodes from my own life. This is a writer living a life as a pure unadulterated artist.
Feb 08, 2011 Brian rated it liked it
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."
May 20, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it
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. from the Academy of American Poets
Prepare for the 2010 Poets Forum in New York City (October 28-30) by reading Hirsch's newest book of poetry, and check out the Poets Forum 2010 bookshelf for the latest collections by each of the poets participating in the Poets Forum. Happy reading!
Jun 06, 2010 Hayley rated it it was amazing
A must-read for poetry lovers: http://www.joiedelivresamerica.blogsp...
Flower Conroy
Flower Conroy marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
A. Luca
A. Luca marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2016
Margareta marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2016
Dahlia rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2016
Jose marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2016
Justin Lee
Justin Lee marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2016
Danny marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2016
Sydney Goggins
Sydney Goggins is currently reading it
Jun 02, 2016
Hana added it
Jun 27, 2016
Layne marked it as to-read
Apr 29, 2016
Brendan marked it as to-read
Apr 08, 2016
Buunny marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2016
Andres marked it as to-read
Apr 02, 2016
Samsara Counts
Samsara Counts marked it as to-read
Mar 17, 2016
Derek marked it as to-read
Feb 27, 2016
Mel Hazlewood
Mel Hazlewood rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2016
Shaina Clingempeel
Shaina Clingempeel marked it as to-read
Feb 20, 2016
Autumn Race
Autumn Race marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • White Egrets
  • Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip
  • Double Happiness
  • Time and Materials
  • Strong is Your Hold
  • Ghosts And Ruins
  • Girl by the Road at Night
  • The Spot
  • What Becomes
  • The Same River Twice
  • Blind Huber
  • Fun with Problems
  • A Village Life
  • News of the World
  • Something Red
  • My Poets
  • Break the Glass
  • Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems
Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and peerless advocate for poetry. He was born in Chicago in 1950—his accent makes it impossible for him to hide his origins—and educated at Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in Folklore. His devotion to poetry is lifelong.He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fe ...more
More about Edward Hirsch...

Share This Book