alt= The World Is on Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse
by Joni Tevis 
Milkweed Editions, Paperback, 9781571313478, 256pp.

The sermons of Joni Tevis' youth filled her with dread, a sense "that an even worse story - one you hadn't read yet - could likewise come true." In this revelatory collection, she reckons with her childhood fears by exploring the uniquely American fascination with apocalypse. From a haunted widow's wildly expanding mansion, to atomic test sites in the Nevada desert, her settings are often places of destruction and loss.

And yet Tevis transforms these eerie destinations into sites of creation as well, uncovering powerful points of connection. Whether she's relating her experience of motherhood or describing the timbre of Freddy Mercury's voice in "Somebody to Love," she relies on the same reverence for detail, the same sense of awe. And by anchoring her attention to the raw materials of our world - nails and beams, dirt and stone, bones and blood - she discovers grandeur in the seemingly mundane.

Possessed throughout with eclectic intelligence and extraordinary lyricism, these essays illuminate curiosities and momentous events with the same singular light.

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