Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite Black Ice & Fire: Poems 1974-2014 is a collection of poetry penned by James Ross Kelly and is suitable for the general reading audience. This collection covers a diverse range of topics that include thoughtful musings on intimate subjects such as loss and grief. Poems in this collection have been previously printed in various publications as single contributions from the poet, but this is the first time they have all been compiled into a collection of work spanning four decades of introspection and growth. It should be noted that some of the subject matter may prove challenging for younger readers but is not explicit in any way.Author James Ross Kelly has delivered a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking poems. From the moment I started reading the poems, I could feel the author's passion, and the lyrical style resonated with me immediately. One of my favorite things about this collection is that I feel they have the potential to connect with people from different backgrounds and walks of life because Black Ice & Fire covers a vast range of topics and explores a spectrum of ideas that relate closely to common emotions that we all go through.My personal favorites from this collection were ‘These Pelicans’ and ‘Sunflower Heads’, which I felt particularly highlighted the author’s talent for imagery and emotive writing, balancing artistry with raw emotive content expertly. I found the tone of the poems personal yet empowering, and I look forward to reading more of Kelly’s work in the future. I would not hesitate to recommend Black Ice & Fire to fans of accessible and descriptive poetry, and those who are looking for a gateway into the genre.
Black Ice & Fire
James Ross Kelly, author
February 28, 2021 by Henry Stanton ANNOUNCING THE PUBLICATION OF “BLACK ICE AND FIRE” BY JAMES ROSS KELLY A finely crafted James Kelly poem is born of knowing. When you read a poem from “Black Ice and Fire”, you will unequivocally NOT be reading about a thing. You will read a poem from within a thing; you will be imbibing presence from outside and all around a thing; you will be gathering all of it up in your arms and you will embrace a thing. You cannot be mild, indifferent, cavalier. You must give of yourself. Engage. James Kelly’s’ poems demand intimate participation. You are required to join Kelly’s inner circle where you can not indulge in the superficial. The poems are tender and brutal, generous and challenging, broad in scope but also full of small, important detail. As reader, you are James Kelly’s neighbor, friend, family-member, and companion. You will be asked to join with the writer/narrator in facing and grasping profound loss, cruelty, anger, evil, as you will also be invited to admire and experience the most exquisite beauty, friendship, understanding and compassion. This is life resonant with all its incomprehensible, glorious meaning. And, when you participate in this way, give the book all of yourself, the experience of Kelly’s artistry will be moving and relevant and deeply satisfying. The poems are resonant and impactful both because of the polished tradecraft and because they come to us from the rich depth and breadth of total, fearless immersion. “Black Ice and Fire” is breathtaking in its conjuring. You cannot avoid reading it.