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Janet Hamill reads from Real Fire

I saw Janet Hamill at Bowery Poetry on Sunday, February 10. Anton Yakovlev runs a Sunday afternoon reading there, and this was the first I attended. Janet read from a new book called Real Fire, an illuminating work that she partly wrote tripping on acid staring into a fire. The poems are a partnership with the photographer, Richard Baron, whose photographs are hallucinatory as well. I always enjoy hearing Janet read as she often does from memory where the poem changes in the landscape of the spoken moment, now and then, the remembered and the added, which brings us to the present where these poems are.




The moths were so big they had faces I heard
the universe changing at my back. The light principle
was so winded. In collapsing it gave birth to new life.

I heard the blood pulsing in the stars. I heard
the grinding teeth of titanium. I heard the night chanting
rain, rain, rain, simulating lapping of water
against my walls. I heard the sheer numbers
of the night. In its dark belly a desperate rhythm of sleep.

So forgive me for walking away with the flame.


Janet Hamill


with Patti Smith


Photographs by Richard Baron


Real Fire is published by Alexandria Quarterly Press. You can check them out here:



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