The Common Fire

The Common Fire is a book of family stories from matriarchs to daughters, about the struggles we encounter in daily life; it is a journey wherein fire keeps igniting, beginning with the burning of flesh in a concentration camp and ending with enlightenment. The book is divided into four sections: “Mama’s Kitchen” introduces the reader to family elders; “Leaving This World” reconciles death—of children, animals, even art; “Just a Child” glimpses at childhood and motherhood; and “Searching for that Light” is the quest for illumination, love and ultimately inner peace. The poems are largely domestic, and the author’s Jewish background adds a strong flavor to the theme: Within the common experience, there is struggle and there is light.

Praise for The Common Fire:

“Shelley Savren’s poems in The Common Fire are warm and direct, full of the stuff of daily life, family life, joy and pleasure and grief and pain we can all identify with in poems that carry a strong emotional weight.”—Marge Piercy

“These are poems of earnest storytelling and fond description. Nostalgia for gone worlds and affection for the evanescing present are the subjects and inspirations for this volume. A pleasure to read.”—Li-Young Lee

Blue and white text stating The Common Fire Poems by Shelley Savren over a black background with an abstract painting.

Shelley Savren ( Author Website )

Publication Date: September 1, 2004

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-888996-96-8


Small Press Bookwatch reviews The Common Fire

The Common Fire Shelley Savren. Red Hen (CDC, dist.) $12.95 (88p) ISBN 978-1-888996-96-8Winner of the 1994 John David Johnson Memorial Poetry Award, Shelley Savren is the recipient of nine California […]