Cleveland State University Poetry Center

The Firestorm by Zach Savich



The Firestorm
by Zach Savich

List price: $15.95


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Zach Savich is the author of two books of poetry, Full Catastrophe Living (2009), and Annulments (2010), as well as a chapbook, The Man Who Lost His Head (2010), and a book of creative nonfiction on art and the imagination, Events Film Cannot Withstand, that is forthcoming from Rescue+Press. He has won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry, Omnidawn Press’Chapbook Competition, and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s  Open Competition. His poems, essays, and reviews appear widely in journals such as A Public Space, Denver Quarterly, and Gulf Coast. He serves as book review editor with The Kenyon Review.




A leaning-in-doorways day. Above your knee, my knee.
Caption: I saw you through. A story that is not a love
story is easy to tell, simply: we were not in love.
At this distance, we kiss like people in novels.
The lightning flashes and we intuitively begin to count.
As at a restaurant we have never been to where we hear
a song we have never heard by a singer we love.
Restaurant we will go back to and have the same.
The man dressing through some leaves was dressing in
some leaves. Ardoretum my grandmother always mispronounced
beautifully. Thickness of deep grasses. To be half in love is
already in love. Tulips cut half along the horizon.
To say, as one might at the conclusion of a very long dinner,
I cannot even tell if I am speaking to you now.
The curtains let go and I am wick without wax. The tea
cools and I drink it or I drink the tea and it cools. How little
this has to do with happiness.



Take Zach Savich’s The Firestorm as one proof of Emerson’s assertion that the mind’s nature is volcanic. A firestorm is such a conflagration that it produces above it its own atmosphere. And so a reader finds in Savich’s pages a super-heated cloud in which the poet’s voice grows multiple, grows active, and the poem records the intimate collisions of lines that veer from prophecy to aphorism to ribald wit to stoic speculation. If this sounds nebulous, it is not. It is fulgurative, lightning-like, shot through sudden flashes of experience that in the sudden afterglow reveal that experience also experiences itself. Such is the complicated place where wit turns witness, and in doing so, opens up the deeper ironies—ironies that at first glance seem quite plain: “I have forgotten if I am pulling the curtain open or closed.” Savich pulls the curtain open and closed, showing us again poetry’s paradoxical necessity: that the poem must show and hide at once, reveal and obscure simultaneously, and that a song that thinks makes of its melody a matter that matters.   -- Dan Beachy-Quick

What do you get when the instructions call for apples, leaves, rivers, cities, eggs, black-eyed lazy susans and a desire exceeding imagining? You get to inhabit the world only Zach Savich's exceedingly intelligent and shapely poems have conjured up for us. I love this book, I love having poetry taking this good care of my brain. --Dara Wier

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