Wit and nihilism, deadpan intelligence, and candid examinations of human hungers abound in J.G. McClure’s The Fire Lit & Nearing. McClure’s smoldering poems take on the grind of time, obsessive love, manliness and its illusions, alternative fates, being and nothingness, and much more. His is a winning voice, dark and self-critical, a bit reminiscent of John Berryman’s, a brave and true voice one might dub melancholic/comic/heroic.
The recurrent mode of J.G. McClure’s The Fire Lit & Nearing is a version of lament and complaint (both with long distinguished poetic traditions), but this tone is relieved and complicated and enriched by McClure’s distinctive zaniness and invention, which gives the reader great enjoyment in this kind of “gaiety transfiguring all that dread” à la Yeats. This inventiveness also makes use of McClure’s intelligence in a fundamentally writerly way and communicates the mind-of-the-writer at work in an exhilarating act of making that extracts beauty even from human pain and despair.
J.G. McClure’s first book, The Fire Lit & Nearing, is a wild cosmically inclusive, sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious but always compelling thought experiment about contingency as both a source of freedom and inescapable pain. These poems embody an irrepressible charm, a formal poise and wit that I find welcoming, even life affirming, even in the midst of sorrow. A truly beautiful book.
|Publisher:||Indolent Arts Foundation, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His poems have appeared widely in Best
New Poets and the Gettysburg Review, among other journals. He lives in Northern Virginia with his cat, whom he loves and occasionally fears. The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent
Books) is his first collection.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The poems that make up J.G. McClure’s wonderful book, The Fire Lit & Nearing, are at once ironic, poignant, comic. The book is a one man show combining juggler, mime, lion tamer, trapeze artist in the circus of the narrator’s life. The language and imagery the poet frequently utilizes make us readers eagerly watch a love affair in reverse, the adulation of a pet gone out of control, the parable of a town going to the river to drown. Each poem we readers are experiencing the depths of regret and longing, a voice trying to make sense of chaos, watching a heart “that burns whiskey and people and illusions of choice.” No opportunity is wasted in McClure’s capable hands, even the poem titles lure you in, and tell their own stories, set the tone. My favorite poem remains Pesto, the tug and pull of a couple in delicate crisis, the magic trick of the ingredients and cooking, the dish and the silent wishes at the end. I’m very pleased to recommend this book of poetry, and I wish J.G. McClure every success. Devi S. Laskar Author of Gas & Food, No Lodging & Anastasia Maps (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and debut novel, The Atlas of Reds and Blues, from Counterpoint Press, Winter 2019