Project Description

Fire Up the Furnace

Fire up the furnace of absence
for God is gone again
and the soul’s a growin’ cold.

Come let us feast on steam,
be empty-tipsy.
Let us poke our pokers

in the inmost ember
of the utmost fire
we can imagine or remember

to make that vacancy blaze,
while we pretend
that me is we,

and we is warm, friend,
nice and warm,
in need of nothing

but nothing’s flame.

Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. A former Guggenheim fellow, Wiman served as the editor of Poetry magazine from 2003 to 2013. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, prose, and poetry in translation, including. Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems (FSG, 2017), Once in the West (FSG, 2014), My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013), Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (Ecco, 2012), and Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet (Copper Canyon, 2007) among others. Wiman has taught at Stanford University, Northwestern University, Lynchburg College, and Yale Divinity School. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.