Willie Smith Review

 

Erasmus or one of those guys once said something like: When I have money, I buy books; if there’s any money left over, I buy food. Well, here’s biblio proof, in the shape of James Ross Kelly’s latest and loveliest collection of short stories AND THE FIRES WE TALKED ABOUT (title taken from a beautiful David Whited poem, the relevant passage from which is quoted on X. of the intro pages), that when I have money I buy books; if there’s any money left over, I buy a new sweater. This is some hot reading, kids. Buy a copy: it’ll keep you warm on those dreary chilly fall evenings when there are no ongoing debates to heat you up.

Willie Smith, Poet, Novelist–Pacific Northwest raconteur

 

From page X. of the intro to And the Fires We Talked About by James Ross Kelly

This book is dedicated to the memory of my good friend, the poet David Lloyd Whited (1950-2015), who, not finding me home left this poem on my Smith-Corona in 1993.


Even the fish stories were out today
And the lies we told were truth one time
Before they cut the hills and butchered out the
Trout pond, all of us good looking clear-eyed boys
All of us searching for the right ax
And wondering if the bait that we had was the bait
Which they were biting on. Times like these
I’m just too busy to get to work
Times like these that the friends and the neighbors
Which we grew up with are telling us the
Summertime, in the wintertime, in the falling rain
Good stories and good kids, each of them good
And the fires we talked about
Are probably still burning up there on
That damn hillside.

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