Poet Marjorie Jackson
explores the fires of the mind and heart

These strong, clear, passionate poems are a pleasure to read, and a reward to reread. Inspired by such poets as Paul Valéry and Robert Graves, Marjorie Sparkman Jackson explores human culture from early myths and archetypes up to modern academic theory on what makes the human heart burn, get burned, warm, and cool off.

For the most part, Dancing Fire is about love, especially in Part Two, which starts strong and grows more and more seductive and insistent with each poem, as if to insinuate, in the voice of the Serpent, “My scales shimmer round your withing trunk.”

The reader has a right to assume that these poems come from the poet’s own blend of feelings and thought. For example, in different poems she takes on the personae of Eve, Lilith, and the Serpent, understands them all, and shows us what a strong, archetypical story Eden tells about the most important, pleasurable, rewarding, disappointing, painful, and lonely of human emotions. The conflict between the pleasure and the pain is in sharp focus in the brief, incisive poem “Love Is, Is Not.”

Jackson’s skill with words offers a reward in every line. Her style is generally free-verse, but she is also comfortable with meter and rhyme, as in “Cemetery in Miniature” and the loose sonnet “Lilith.” In either case, whether free-verse or formal structure, the language is economical yet lavish, full of surprise. To read this book is to play with fire, and to be warmed.

Marjorie Sparkman Jackson lives and writes in San Diego County, California. Her poems have appeared in several journals, including The Classical Outlook, the Plains Poetry Journal, The Climbing Art, and The Archer. Dancing Fire is her first book.

Dancing Fire
by Marjorie Sparkman Jackson
ISBN 978-156474-475-2
ISBN 156474-475-3
80 pages, paperback, $14.00

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