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