Small Press Bookwatch reviews The Common Fire

The Common Fire Shelley Savren. Red Hen (CDC, dist.) $12.95 (88p) ISBN 978-1-888996-96-8

Winner of the 1994 John David Johnson Memorial Poetry Award, Shelley Savren is the recipient of nine California Arts Council Artists in Residence grants, two National Endowment for the Arts regional grants, and two artist fellowships from the City of Ventura. The Common Fire showcases this remarkable talent and will aptly serve to introduce a whole new audience of readers to a storytelling poetry of life and family, joy and grief, pleasure, and pain. Summer Days: In a triangle of afternoon light my daughter/Talia stretches across her bed,/knees bent back, feet crossed, hair winding/down to her shoulders, soft and blond.//Her skin is like peaches, the smell of steamed milk/rising. She leans into her Teen Magazine/the way a tree leans toward sunlight,/sways to headphone music, like a breeze.//She is searching for a boy who will take his hand/from a pocket and hold hers./She will paste his picture on her notebook/and dance with him in the school gym.//She tosses the magazine and I iron a dress,/pull it over her head. Static lifts her/as she steps outside, the dress clinging and sizzling./And for a moment, she is queen.