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.
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite