Essentially, this is Clive James' desert island poems: a selection of his favourite verse and a personal commentary on each. The Fire of Joy was the final book Clive James completed before his death in 2019. It takes its title from the French expression Feu de Joie, which refers to a military celebration when all the riflemen of a regiment fire one shot after another in a wave of continuous sound: it is a reminder that the regiment's collective power relies on the individual, and vice versa. In this book, James has chosen a succession of English poems, exploding in sequence from Chaucer to the present day; they tell the story of someone writing something wonderful, and someone else coming along, reading it, and feeling impelled to write something even more wonderful. After a lifetime, these are the poems James found so good that he remembered them despite himself. In offering them to you, the main purpose of this book is to provide ammunition that will satisfy your urge to discover, learn and declaim verse. As well as his selection of poems, James offers a commentary on each: whether this is a biographical, historical or critical introduction to the poem, or a more personal anecdote about the role a particular poem has played in James's life, these mini essays provide the joy of James's enthusiasm and the benefit of his knowledge. Full of the flashing fires of poems you will not be able to forget, this book will ignite your passion and leave you with a contagious crackle rattling in your ears.
Number of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 1 Oct 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication City, Country: London, United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 23.4(H) x 15.3(L)
ReviewsOne of the most important and influential writers of our time * Sunday Times *
Few contemporary critics display the passionate commitment to the idea of poetry, and to the idea of poetry's centrality to civilized life, that James does -- John Banville, New York Review of Books
Author BiographyClive James was the multi-million-copy bestselling author of more than forty books. His poetry collection Sentenced to Life and his translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy were both Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, and his collections of verse were shortlisted for many prizes. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia. He died in 2019.