Spanning four decades of meditation on the avant-garde in poetry, art, and philosophy, the essays collected in "The Fire" reveal Robin Blaser's strikingly fresh perspective on "New American" poets, deconstructive philosophies, current events, and the state of humanities now. The essays, gathered in one volume for the first time, include commentaries on Jack Spicer, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Mary Butts, George Bowering, Louis Dudek, Christos Dikeakos, and J. S. Bach. Blaser emerged from the "Berkeley Renaissance" of the 1940s and 1950s having studied under legendary medieval scholar Ernst Kantorowicz and having been a major participant in the burgeoning literary scene. His response to the cultural and political events of his time has been to construct a poetic voice that offers a singular perspective on a shareable world - and to pose that voice alongside others as a source of countermemory and potential agency. Conceived as conversations, these essays brilliantly reflect that ethos as they re-read the cultural events of the past fifty years.
Robin Blaser is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University. Among his many books are The Holy Forest (UC Press), Pell Mell, and Syntax. Miriam Nichols is College Professor at University College of the Fraser Valley and editor of Even on Sunday: Essays, Readings, and Archival Materials on the Poetry and Poetics of Robin Blaser.