In this important new collection, her first in fourteen years, award-winning author Louise Erdrich has selected poems from her two previous books of poetry, Jacklight and Baptism of Desire, and added new poems to compose Original Fire.
Profound and accessible, this collection anticipates and enlarges upon many of the themes, and even the characters, of Erdrich's prose. A sequence of story poems called "The Potchikoo Stories" recounts the life and afterlife of the questing trickster Potchikoo, echoing the wit and humanity of the inimitable, Nanapush, who appears in several of Erdrich's novels, most recently The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. Similarly, the group of poems called "The Butcher's Wife" contains the germ of Erdrich's most recent novel, The Master Butchers Singing Club.
A powerful new poem, "The Seven Sleepers," forms the core of an entire section of the book and is about the passionate search for the divine in all its forms. The final section, "Original Fire," travels through birth, ordinary life, loss, and redemption. These poems reveal that poetry emerges from what we fear most, and that memory is endurance.