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Voi non sapete che cos'è l'amore: Saggi, poesie, racconti

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,339 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Nel 1984, all'indomani del successo di "Cattedrale", Raymond Carver volle riunire in questa raccolta saggi, poesie e racconti per lo più inediti. Proprio la sua varietà fa di questo libro (che prende il nome da una lunga poesia dedicata a Charles Bukowski, figura in un certo senso affine a Carver per la doppia ispirazione di narratore e poeta, e per la drammatica esperienz ...more
Paperback, I libri di Carver #3, 298 pages
Published February 2000 by Minimum fax (first published 1977)
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In many ways, this selection of Raymond Carver’s essays, poems and stories is the perfect introduction to this iconic literary figure. Unlike other collections, where readers are only given his finely crafted fiction or poetry to decipher, here we are first presented with four essays in which Carver speaks about his development as a writer and the factors the drove him to create.
Next, we are given a sample of Carver’s poems, which although not too varied in style or trope, are nonetheless beau
Il panettiere

Poi Pancho Villa venne in città,
impiccò il sindaco
e invitò a cena il vecchio e debole
conte Vronsky.
Pancho gli presentò la sua nuova ragazza
Insieme con suo marito vestito d’un grembiule bianco,
mostrò la pistola a Vronsky,
poi chiese al conte di raccontargli
del suo infelice esilio in Messico.
Più tardi parlarono di donne e cavalli.
Entrambi ne erano esperti.
La ragazza ridacchiava e
si trastullò coi bottoni di madreperla
della camicia di Pancho finché
a mezzanotte spaccata Pancho si addormen
Fires is a mix of Carver's essays, poems and early versions of short stories, some published in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," pieces that aren't really tied together but don't really fit with his other work. It's a great read and offers some real insight on Carver and his writing.

I especially liked the essays, which are all about writing and his influences, and offer some great advice for other writers and even inspiration, given that Carver was struggling to be a writer while w
Jul 30, 2009 Daniel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Jennifer netherby
"Fires: Essays, Poems, Stories" is nearly flawless, and highly recommended to anyone either coming to Raymond Carver for the first time or already a fan of his work. My friend Jennifer (thanks for lending it to me, Jennifer!) has already written a fine review at so I won't write a long review here. I do, however, want to call attention to "You Don't Know What Love Is (an evening with Charles Bukowski)," which, I'm assuming, is pretty much a transcript of ...more
I was turned onto Raymond Carver's writing a number of years ago by an ex-girlfriend poet, she said his writing reminded her of me. He is considered one of the best short story writers by many people, and I can appreciate that sentiment. I also appreciate his essays. But I love his poetry most of all.

Great book!
According to the Afterword, Carver revised "So Much Water So Close to Home," and although I didn't know that while reading the version of the story in this book, I found myself much more engaged in (and disturbed by) the story this time around.

In Carver's interview with the Paris Review (included at the end of the book), he gives some thoughts on the purpose of fiction: "It doesn't have to do anything. It just has to be there for the fierce pleasure we take in doing it, and the different kind of
I am giving this book five stars because I love Raymond Carver, but I am disappointed in my particular copy. I got it at a used book store and it looked fine on the outside, but it must've been a misprint. In one of the stories a page was missing, and then later in the book, it repeated a huge chunk of pages, so I ended up missing four stories entirely. How does that even happen?
I thoroughly enjoyed this little Carver compendium. Ranging from devastatingly frank and honest non-fiction and essays to his trademark short-story accounts, and then decorated some with Carver's unique verse - Fires is a volume that really introduces you to the breadth and depth of Carver's work. And to what depths does he plunge! Despite this being a very slim book with extremely short essays and tales, it took me a great while to read and absorb the pieces; Carver's writing, so pared down and ...more
Tom Bensley
I've read my fair share of Carver, this being the latest. What I loved most about this collection was the insight that it gave into Raymond Carver, the man. He's a gentle and affectionate soul who just happens to have been through some tough times. It's evident in his stories, sure, but here we get a much more direct and personal look at him.

I'm referring to his personal essays of course. My favourite of the essays was probably Fires, in which he talks about his influences as a writer. He only p
Made the mistake of waiting too long to review this one, but here's what I remember: four essays inside -- each one I read a minimum of four times. Required reading.

MY FATHER'S LIFE for some words on his father --

"Then he died. I was a long way off, in Iowa City, with things still to say to him. I didn't have the chance to tell him goodbye, or that I thought he was doing great at his new job. That I was proud of him for making a comeback. My mother said he came in from work that night and ate a
When I was in college, I took a couple of creative writing courses and Raymond Carver was considered perhaps the finest craftsmen of short stories. I, however, was not a fan. While stylistically I appreciated the sparseness of his writing, I found little to engage me in minimalism of the stories - little in the way of plot or character for me to find interesting or likable.

Recently, thanks to a biography and a new collection of his works, there has been a bit of resurgence of interest in his wo
Raymond Carver remains one of my favorite authors. He's erudite about the everyday conflicts and relationships of regular people. Is it more gripping reading about a whistle blower trying to stop a major pharma company from selling tainted medicine or a single father struggling family, alcohol and job? I love thrillers, but this book resonates on a very emotional level.

All four essays are exceptional. "On Writing" and "John Gardner: The Writer as a Teacher" are insightful and opinionated. "My Fa
Rich Gamble
This collection begins with a handful of Carver’s essays on writing that touch on how he refined his craft, influences, mentors etc and that leave no doubt he knew what he was doing with every word in every sentence. Next up are poems – while I’m not very well equipped to review these critically I definitely enjoyed them – covering a variety of topics from salmon to old photographs, even one as a sort of parody of contemporary Charles Bukowski (a highlight). The final pages comprise several of C ...more
A very early collection of essays, poetry, and stories. None of these really hit the high water mark Carver is capable of, but they do showcase the foundation of his work. Ultimately I may not be a fan of his poetry, but the majority of his writing is still really fantastic. Distance and So Much Water So Close to Home are great stories.
Robert Bason
I pulled this off my shelf to read, because Carver is considered one of the best short-story writers of the last century. They are indeed, gritty and often ominous. I suspect they show the talent that Carver had even in his early years. The poems I liked less than the stories.
My copy of this book (SIGNED by Carver) has a nice little typed letter in it (again SIGNED by Carver) from Carver to his publisher, Noel Young, as Capra Press. Fun to see.
As ever, Ray Carver's stories are moving testaments to working class life in an earlier (north) American era. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays, poems, and stories.
Jim Coughenour
Even if you're familiar with Carver's short fiction, you'll be surprised at these essays about his development as a writer. There's a great homage to his mentor, John Gardner, and his advice "On Writing."

My favorite (although probably not the best) essay is the one in which he tackles the usually self-aggrandizing account on what influenced him As A Writer. For Carver, it was his kids, and for him it was a negative influence: "I would always have them, and always find myself in this position of
Carver is THE master of short stories. Learned a lot from this collection.
I like a few sneak peaks at Carver's nonfiction. Oh, the one on his father is so heart-breaking, especially the description of this photo of his father. I find it really compelling and brave that Raymond Carver looked closely at that photo and responded almost objectively. The poems are not all that "visionary" and read more like his short stories. Actually, reading his poetry is an interesting way to attempt to understand how he looks at the world--it's as if he can't resist picking up informat ...more
Sara Dickson
This is a book someone suggested that I should read. I really am glad that I read it because I have found another author that I admire.

His short stories and essays are wonderful. Each one of them felt like he was just telling you something that happened in his life like it was nothing but it was fiction! He begins sentences with words like but and, and. He also has a very significant female voice which for whatever reason I found intriguing.
A good mishmash of Carver's essays, poems, and stories. The quality of the stories varies: The Pheasant is excellent, some of the others (especially his earliest stories) aren't. One can see that even the masters weren't always masterful, which is encouraging for young writers. The poems and essays are all first-rate. Carver doesn't espouse much of a writing philosophy apart from two tenets: be honest and use precise language. I like this philosophy.
Raymond Carver is a master at saying so much with so few words. There is a zen-like quality to reading his prose and short stories. Despite the incredible sadness that permeates his writing there is an acknowledgement of life's prettier qualities. He shows the beautiful breathing space in silence. The pace is pleasant yet tense, I equate it to walking through the woods alone and just dwelling in your head for the trek.
There were some beautiful poems in here. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm at a stage in life where I can fully appreciate and understand some of the themes in there. Carver deals heavily with alcoholism, sickness, death, family responsibility, things I do not have the experiences to truly identify with yet, and identifying with the stories is how I truly enjoy them. I'd like to revisit this at some point in life.
Gary Daly
An excellent collection of Raymond Carver's stories, essays and poems for the uninitiated reader. Great poems, like 'Drinking While Driving' - "My brother nudges me. Any minute now, something will happen, 'Looking for Work' - "I begin to hurry. Wake up, my wife says, you're dreaming. But when I try to rise, the house tilts. Who's dreaming? It's noon, she says." And more to follow. Carver uber alles.
I'm not a fan of Carver's poetry as I am of his short stories, so I didn't care that much for the middle part. But I did love the essays on writing that Fires opens with, and it's interesting to read alternate versions of some of my favorite short stories of him, such as Distance (Everything Stuck To Him in What We Talk About...) and So Much Water So Close To Home.
Carla Anderson
I read Raymond Carver in college and loved his short stories. Then I found an old copy of his poems at a used book store. I still love his minimalistic writing styles. In one of his essays, he describes how powerful it can be to add a comma in just the right place. The basis of his short stories are relationships and how they are affected by circumstances.
J.thomas Smith
Not as poignant as "What We Talk About," but a great collection nonetheless. It's worth the purchase simply for the essay "On Writing." which offers some wonderful perspective to any storyteller or anyone interested in the thought processes of the author. The inclusion of poetry is a bonus, but I find Carver's short stories to be somehow more poetic.
Mar 12, 2007 Steven rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I discovered Raymond Carver about a decade ago and have borrowed some of his books from libraries. I recently purchased four of his books. I love his style of writing... the short stories, poems etc. The short story, "Where I'm Calling From" is one of my all time favorites. I think that I am going to make it a habit to read a Carver story or poem every day.
Leslie Bandi
"Fires", the essay for which this book takes its name, is earnest and moving. Carver's thoughts on how his children affected his life as a writer are very emotive for me, a parent myself, who, like Carver, sometimes wonders about the lives of other writers while doing the laundry.
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Carver was born into a poverty-stricken family at the tail-end of the Depression. The son of a violent alcoholic, he married at 19, started a series of menial jobs and his own career of 'full-time drinking as a serious pursuit'. A career that would eventually kill him. Constantly struggling to support his wife and family Carver enrolled in a writing programme under author John Gardner in 1958 and ...more
More about Raymond Carver...
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Cathedral Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? Short Cuts: Selected Stories

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“I hate tricks. At the first sign of a trick or gimmick in a piece of fiction, a cheap trick or even an elaborate trick, I tend to look for cover. Tricks are ultimately boring, and I get bored easily, which may go along with my not having much of an attention span. But extremely clever chi-chi writing, or just plain tomfoolery writing, puts me to sleep. Writers don't need tricks or gimmicks or even necessarily need to be the smartest fellows on the block. At the risk of appearing foolish, a writer sometimes needs to be able to just stand and gape at this or that thing- a sunset or an old shoe- in absolute and simple amazement.” 62 likes
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