Scott Silsbe's excellent new poems read like someone dropped Frank O'Hara into one of Pittsburgh's great dive bars and told him to sing like a jukebox playing folk songs and punk rock. These are poems filled with sweetness and light, love, kindness, friendship, and the grit that makes the world true. The heart of Pittsburgh's rough neighborhoods shines through in every line, revealing universal themes we all need to hear: the world is against us, we can never let the world win, that art matters in the face of artlessness. These are poems written against despair so the reader can walk away and try to live better again and always. Get on the fire escape and read these poems out loud--they need to be heard.
--Dave Newman, author of Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children
Scott Silsbe's poems come straight from the streets of Pittsburgh, in the hours after the bars have closed, when there's nothing to do but drive around town, running red light after red light, and thinking about home and heartache and her. These poems are like conversations you want to have at parties--sharp and philosophical, fractured but articulate. The way real life can seem in your mid-to-late twenties, when letting go is as important as discovery. Flannery O'Connor once remarked, "I don't know what I think until I see what I've said," and you get the sense that Silsbe writes to understand how he feels and what he thinks. Combining the best parts of Tony Hoagland and Dean Young, Scott Silsbe's collection gives hope to those of us who are tourists in our own city, hiding out in plain sight, searching for what we left behind.
--Jonathan Loucks, author of Distant Stations
[Silsbe] has an expert eye for the right detail, painting something large and meaningful with the smallest of strokes... I’m not sure that Basho or Issa could have done it any better. Unattended Fire is an elegant collection of poems from one of our city’s hardest-working literary advocates.
Unattended Fire burns with a sense of positivity and tenderness toward the speaker's sometimes unforgiving world.
--Pittsburgh City Paper
About Scott Silsbe
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Published November 11, 2012
by Six Gallery Press.
Literature & Fiction.