Thursday, December 5, 2013

Original Fire by Louise Erdrich

Original Fire. Selected and New Poems by Louise Erdrich

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 no effect and others knock your socks off.  Many of the poems in Original Fire knocked my socks off and made me think and made me say Wow.

This collection of poems was a combination of some of her poems from two previous volumes of poetry with about 20 new poems not previously published added in.  The poems are broken into five sections titled, Jacklight, The Potchikoo Stories, The Butcher's Wife, The Seven Sleepers and Original Fire.

I started reading a poem or two a day this fall and I look forward to my stolen moments with a poem.  It was especially hard to only read one or two of Erdrich's poems.  I was compelled to keep turning the pages but I wanted to savor them and so I read them slowly to give my mind time to process them before I moved on.  The ending two sections of Original Fire are my favorite and the poems packed a powerful punch.  I loved the Buffalo Prayer,  Advice to Myself, The Seven Sleepers, The Sacraments and many others.

Here is the beginning of The Sacraments

I. Baptism

As the sun dancers, in their helmets of sage,
Stopped at the sun's apogee
and stood in the waterless light,
so, after loss, it came to this:
that for each year the being was destroyed,
I was to sacrifice a piece of my flesh.
The keen knife hovered
and the skin flicked in the bowl.
Then the sun, the life that consumes us,
burst into agony.

Have you read any poetry lately??