New Books Network

John Sibley Williams

As One Fire Consumes Another

Orison Books 2019

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in PoetryNew Books Network June 21, 2019 Andrea Blythe

John Sibley Williams’ As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Books, 2019) presents a familiar world full of burnings carried out on both the grand...

John Sibley Williams’ As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Books, 2019) presents a familiar world full of burnings carried out on both the grand and intimate scale. The newspaper-like columns of prose poetry provide a social critique of the violent side of American culture centered within the boundaries of self and family. Although an apocalyptic tension permeates throughout, these poems envision the kind of fires that not only provide destruction but also illuminate a spark of hope.

“Dust rises from the road & there is
too much curve to resolve the edges
of embankment & asphalt. Backfire
keeps the pastureland carefully lit.
Static keeps us wanting for another
kind of song.”

— from “Story that Begins and Ends with Burning”

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (which won the Orison Poetry Prize in 2019 and which we’ll be talking about today). He is also the author Skin Memory (which won the Backwaters Prize and is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press also in 2019) as well as Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Review, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (2018) a collection of erasure poems created from the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, and coauthor of Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), a collaborative chapbook written with Laura Madeline Wiseman. She is a cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and the Horror Writers Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com