Reviews for Feeding the Fire : Poems

Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 October 2001
The twentieth was the century of the poem of personal experience, and there is no reason to think that the twenty-first won't carry the genre forward, ensuring that future chroniclers will find out fairly easily how the late-modern poets lived. Harrison shows that they live like lots of other people, though quite differently from each other, in poems alike primarily in their high levels of accomplishment. He writes so musically that ordinary occurrences take on the tones and luster of extraordinary art.Harrison writes mostly long, blank-verse-like lines about a happy life of middle-class creativity, compassion, and passion. He regrets duping his sister when she was little by conjuring an older sister, glamorously long-gone to hippie California. He remembers how, just off the train in Manhattan, "a novitiate to the city," he bought a flashy Bhagavad Gita off one religion hustler and knelt to pray with another, a Born-Againer. He writes about adventures with his wife: flying to live in Japan with everything they had in carry-on luggage; goofing with the kids' "silly glasses" while she drives; and out rowing on a lake, watching her body and hair as lovingly as he ever has.The poetry of experience is seldom better than in these books. ((Reviewed October 15, 2001))Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews