Divine Fire: Poems
Author: David Woo
Publisher: The University of Georgia Press (2021)
How to find wisdom and spiritual sustenance in a time of crisis and uncertainty? In Divine Fire, David Woo answers with poems that move from private life into a wider world of catastrophe and renewal. The collection opens in the most personal space, a bedroom, where the chaotic intrusions of adulthood revive the bafflements of childhood. The perspective soon widens from the intimacies of love to issues of national and global import, such as race and class inequality, and then to an unspoken cataclysm that is, by turns, a spiritual apocalypse and a crisis that could be in the news today, like climate change or the pandemic. In the last part of the book, the search for ever-vaster scales of meaning, both sacred and profane, finds the poet trying on different personas and sensibilities―comic, ironic, earnest, literary, self-mythologizing― before reaching a luminous détente with the fearful and the sublime. The divine fire of lovers fading in memory―“shades of the men in my blood”―becomes the divine fire of a larger spiritual reckoning. In his new book of poems, Woo provides an astonishing vision of the world right now through his exploration of timeless themes of love, solitude, art, the body, and death.