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The Use of Fire
     

The Use of Fire

by Reynolds Price
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like the great blue heron returning each year to its pond, Price ( New Music ) here makes a difficult personal journey in formidable weather--and only with great effort is he able to return to his peaceful starting point. The journey, told as a poetic chronicle, recounts the author's pain and internal conflicts stemming from the unexpected urgency of a medical condition that paralyzed his lower body in 1984. The tender, sometimes agonized collection recalls his days as a student at Oxford, travels in Europe, writing at home in North Carolina, family, friends and lovers past and present. As his inner turmoil dissipates, Price ``burns a silent / Praise of thanks to what or who has worked such peace.'' Most gracefully in sections I and III, his imagination ventures outward in hymns for friends, elegies and love poems, some inspired by Rilke or Holderlin. All are tributes to Price's clarity and his sensitivity to the nuances of nature; the poems celebrate the human conditions of love, death, struggle, joy and, ultimately, serenity. (Dec.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Like John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates, Price is a successful novelist ( Tongues of Angels, LJ 4/1/90) who also writes a good deal of poetry. This is his third collection, a follow-up to The Laws of Ice ( LJ 12/86), and nearly half of it continues ``Days and Nights,'' a verse diary chronicling the author's ``private internal combat'' with cancer begun in the previous volume. He names his personal demon ``the eel'': ``It is one foot long, thick as a pencil/ And lives in the upper half of my spine.'' Fear and self-pity are laudably scarce, but then Price's writerly reserve, his penchant for adjectives and strict four-beat lines, tend to keep the subject matter at arm's length. Price's gifts are obvious, but one wonders whether the poem's descriptive density and rhetorical effects would seem less overwrought if given the larger field of play afforded by prose.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689121098
Publisher:
Central Bureau voor Schimmelcultures
Publication date:
10/05/1990
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 9.53(h) x 0.72(d)

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