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The Fire of Joy Reviews

The Fire of Joy by Clive James

The Fire of Joy: Roughly 80 Poems to Get by Heart and Say Aloud

Clive James

Score pending

1 review

Category: Poetry, Non-fiction
Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 1 Oct 2020
ISBN: 9781529042085

In the last book he completed before he died, Clive James offers a personal guide to the poems he found it impossible to forget.

4 stars out of 5
Laura Freeman
26 Sep 2020

"a treasure trove of poetic pleasure"

James’s facility for remembering was remarkable. The rest of us need to learn how to learn. If James’s approach has a failing, it’s that he doesn’t share the secret: how to ginger the mind, how make the cells receptive, how to take it one line at a time. But Hughes does. So it’s John, Clive, Ted and off you go. The point of getting a poem by heart is not to brag, not to revel in one’s cleverness, not to reel off verses as a party trick or a pick-up act. It’s not enough, James reminds us, just to learn a poem, you have to love it too.