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

Original Fire

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  232 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A passionate book of poetry from New York Times bestselling author Louise Erdrich.

In this important collection, award-winning author Louise Erdrich has selected poems from her two previous books of poetry, Jacklight and Baptism of Desire, and has added nineteen new poems to compose Original Fire.

“These molten poems radiate with the ferocity of desire, and in them Erdrich d
...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 17th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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 Original Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Original Fire

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Brendan M.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty fucking hot for a collection of poems mostly about nature. And Catholicism. And Native American/First Nations history and culture. And time. And how we are all ashes and dust. W/e, it's real steamy, go read it.
metaphor
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
How weak I have become walking in my heavy shoes.
*
I sift my thoughts into this perfect zero,
into the silken core between minus and plus.
I walk through the terminal number
backward, into the negative
where deep snow falls.
Again I am a child. I stand in the snow
and all around me is the snow
I stand there until I turn to snow.
And then, for a moment, I know you.
*
Sometimes you have to take your own hand
as though you were a lost child
and bring yourself stumbling
home over twisted ice.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This was a very powerful collection to read. It's been too long since I sat down with a poetry book, and I was glad to break my fast with this one. I read this whole book in one sitting. I could not put it down.
Crys Jackson
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this, of course. Her combination of inner worlds, desire, natural worlds, tricksters and storytellers always leaves me renewed, breathless and still homesick.
Laura (booksnob)
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lately, I have been reading poetry. It sounds crazy, I know but poetry was my first love. I loved poetry before I knew I liked to read. I wrote poetry before I knew that I liked to write. Then I went to college and quit reading and writing poetry. Fast forward 20 years and poetry has popped back into my life in a new and significant way.

Louise Erdrich is a writer on fire and her poems in this volume, Original Fire, are amazing. Poetry speaks to each reader differently. Some poems seemingly have
...more
Chad
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read for National Poetry Month 2016.

Even though the content of the poems didn't always speak to me, I really liked how she said it... some stanzas and lines were perfect. I will seek out more from this author.
Stephanie
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This has easily become one of my favorite collections of poetry. Erdrich's storytelling through poetry is clever and her poems on religion are provoking in a way that excites. She manipulates language beautifully.
Helen
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Collection of poetry weaving the history of the Native Americans and German immigrants that make up the poet's family tree. Excellent stuff.
Sienna
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, poetry, 2014
Confession: I'm a fussy poetry reader, preferring collected poems to their selected counterparts. My theory is that if they're good I'd rather read a bunch of them than a cherry-picked few before moving on to another handful carefully selected by someone whose taste may be very different from mine. This selection, though, begins stunningly with the eponymous piece from 1984's Jacklight, and then "The Woods." Erdrich beckons to us from within their depths, her eyes flashing:

At one time your touch
...more
Alison
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, adult, e-book
Not what I thought I was getting at all, but still pretty interesting. I'm not always good at understanding poetry, but I found a couple of really good ones in here that I loved.
beauregard
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Advice to Myself

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all
...more
Abby
Jun 18, 2011 added it
She's a master. You don't have to read very far to know that. I love the cycles of Potchikoo, the narrative web of the Butcher's Wife and the experiences of being a mother in Original Fire.

I know poetry has to come in books, or they could not justify charging fifteen dollars for it...but to me, every poem takes time to process and a whole book of them is overwhelming. I wish instead that poems came one at a time, and unexpectedly--like, oh, here's ten dollars in my coat pocket from last winter,
...more
mika
May 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, erdrich
I just love LE. I guess I was a little surprised at how much of the poetry references Christianity, even if most of those poems were at the very least ironic. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since LE often incorporates perspectives of Christians both white and native in her novels. A lot of the poetry really spoke to me though, and I realize how much her writing has shaped my writing unbeknownst to me...
Lucy
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
I love the books written by Louise Erdrich but am not as impressed with her poetry.
James
Apr 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Intriguing...
l.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Advice to Myself; Avila; Captivity; Fooling God; Grief; Sorrows of the Frog Woman
!Tæmbuŝu
May 29, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
Sarah
Jul 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Many of these poems were good, but after the Alexie poems, it's a lot harder to impress me.
Neil McCrea
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Louise Erdrich is the bee's knees as a novelist. As a poet she is assured and capable, but I remain largely unmoved. If there is a fault here it is most likely with me.
Sharon
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
There are a couple of poems that move me over a mountain, but much of it seems contrived, almost convoluted. But,"Avila," "Penance," and "Grief" make the whole book worth buying.
Amy
Aug 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: adults
Shelves: 2007-books
Beautiful writing. Sometimes I felt like I needed to have more Native American background to understand her poetry.
nicole
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
this is an INCREDIBLE collection.
Andrea Moran Brown
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
There was one poem in here that I LOVED, but I don't remember anything else from the book.
Jennifer
rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2017
Sonia Allison
rated it it was amazing
Sep 12, 2015
gorecki
rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2017
Antoinette Botsford
rated it it was amazing
May 16, 2016
Michelle
rated it really liked it
Feb 19, 2014
Lillian
rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2014
Ashley
rated it really liked it
Jul 09, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: Poems
  • Domestic Work: Poems
  • The Summer of Black Widows
  • Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002
  • The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales
  • Does Your House Have Lions?
  • Storyteller
  • The Crown of Columbus
  • Collected Poems
  • Breaking Poems
  • Names Above Houses
  • What We Carry
  • The Country of Marriage
  • Pieces of White Shell
  • Wanting in Arabic
  • Triumph of Achilles
  • An Atlas of the Difficult World
  • Commons
9388
Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renais ...more
More about Louise Erdrich...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.”
132 likes
More quotes…