Fire in Paradise
A collection of poems written by father and daughter during the Pandemic Year 2020.
"My father and I started talking about making a split collection of poetry together shortly before the pandemic began. And then he was hospitalized with Covid-19, and we all watched the world change. Together. Separately. It was then that I began to understand how important it was to share our voices in the same collection, to be read together. To not only write with him in the room, but to explicitly invite him in. To make something beautiful out of our conversation. To suffer together. To learn together. To dream of a better world." — Elizabeth Bayou-Grace (from the Introduction)
Elizabeth Bayou-Grace lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts with her husband, Ryan, and their two sweet fur-children, China Cat and Regina. She received her BA from Warren Wilson College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. Her work has appeared in Sixfold and Read650. She has performed at Wakarusa Music Festival, Round Top Poetry Festival, Head for the Hills Festival, ArtOutside, Cheatham Street Warehouse, and Stubbs BBQ, as well as many dive bars across Texas. When Elizabeth Bayou-Grace isn't writing, she can be found making music and fighting for a more just and accessible world. Steven Lewis is a former Mentor at SUNY Empire State College, longtime member of the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute faculty, and longtime freelancer. His work has been published widely, from the notable to the beyond obscure, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, Redbook, Commonweal, Ploughshares, Narratively, Spirituality & Health, Road Apple Review, The Rosicrucian Digest, and a biblically long list of parenting publications (7 kids, 16 grandkids). He is Senior Editor/Literary Ombudsman for the spoken word venue Read650. His extensive book list includes Zen and the Art of Fatherhood, Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton, If I Die Before You Wake (poems), three recent novels from Codhill Press—Take This; a generational sequel, Loving Violet; and A Hard Rain—and The Lights Around the Shore (Moonshine Cove).
"Fire In Paradise by Elizabeth Bayou-Grace and her father, Steven Lewis, depicts and enacts the unbreakable and natural bond between parent and child, poet and poet, as well as the contrasting identities that develop between different generations. Relentlessly deep and pleasing, rhythmic, often Whitmanesque in style, all of life—mountains to oceans, integrations of family and culture and society—is here. Reading Fire in Paradise is walking slowly through a vast room of colorful hand-stitched and storied quilts. Pausing at each, listening to the discovery of identity and place, I hear the uttered words, words I learn from, and pocket, like ore." — Carla Carlson, author of Love and Oranges
"In this shared collection, Steven Lewis and Elizabeth Bayou-Grace, father and daughter, have crafted lyrical narratives of surging consciousness; intimacies that merge, step back, then call into question, all the while remaining completely grounded in their own voices. Bayou-Grace, the spirit-storm: radical, fiery, defiant, ecstatic. Lewis, the Chief: keen observer, master of storyline, invites the reader to revel and surrender to the essential pain and bliss embedded in suspended time." — Olivia Grayson, author of The Smoking Mirror
"'Family harmonies' take on a unique dimension in this new collection of poems displaying the easy swing of the younger poet, Elizabeth, in counterpoint to the measured lines of her father, Steven. Fragile mortality and wistful nostalgia blend with youthful urgency, 'the sacred and the profane,' and the constant presence and awareness of one's place on the planet to produce a book that resonates with the reader long after the last page is turned." —Gregg Weatherby, author of Before We Forget, winner of the Aurora Poetry Prize
"If our bodies are our houses, Elizabeth and her father's book of poems, Fire in Paradise, takes us to places in the home only courageous writers explore. Think of the basement where we go when life has rattled our doors. Think also of the roof, where we gaze upon the ocean, the mother of everything living. These poems are compass settings to find the beauty we survive for." — Black Peace Eagle (born Lawrence Winters), author of The Making and Unmaking of a Marine