After So Many Fires explores the tension of myth and modernity, faith and doubt, and the strange (often violent) interplay between humanity and the natural world. The poems seek moments of cohesion, of harmony, even in an age of moral and environmental catastrophe. The severed arm of Grendel twitches on a classroom floor. A father builds his monument. Achilles is lost in a sea of smartphones. A child gazes into the "other space" of an aquarium. In each of these instances, the sentimental is met with suspicion and the project of self-actualization is abandoned. After So Many Fires champions what G.K. Chesterton calls, “the democracy of the dead." It invites readers to position their sorrows and delights within the larger context of human history, myth, and abiding faith.
There exists in everyday life the surprise and magnitude of love, echoing the intricate wild beauty of what just may be second life. Despite our doubts and deep loneliness, our haphazard existence and small cries of obscure and life transformative suffering—second life—a second life that comes to us in music and the rhythms of music, the gorgeous and full-throated and quietly whispered tone and timbre of Jeremiah Webster's stunning, electrifying, and soulful debut collection, After So Many Fires. In Jeremiah's poems death and machines march in lockstep, a macabre soldiering to the end of being. Ecstatically, ultimate Being answers, and the answer, beyond our most hoped for comprehension is love. Love, pure and with great beauty anchored in mystery. With lyric virtuosity, Jeremiah Webster speaks into the darkest fears of our time with one foot in the temporal, one in the eternal.
—Shann Ray, American Book Award-winning author of Balefire and American Copper
After so much posturing on the parts of pundits, preening celebrities, poets on the picked through street market of the avant-garde; after so much hollow flash, so much essentially genre-bent lineated prose of small epiphanies; after so much, well, else, Jeremiah Webster's After So Many Fires comes out of the Pacific Northwest like rain: greening everything, cleaning the language, sharpening the eye, casting a slant-lit wonder about this whole good God-haunted earth, and, most importantly, allowing again a kind of deep breathing.
—Mischa Willett, Author of Phases and Host of Poems for the People
In these creation stories, these laments and celebrations and soul songs, every life that rises from the perpetual ruin we make and inhabit, every one of us, is mythic. Jeremiah Webster's poems are uncompromisingly aware, which makes their clarity and grace all the more worthy of a new kind of faith, a faith in which you and I and a new one-year-old take our rightful, daily places among the old heroes.
—Jonathan Johnson, Author of In the Land We Imagined Ourselves and Mastodon 80% Complete
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