"[A] stirring anthology that takes more cues from Baldwin than just its title ... every poem and essay in Ward’s volume remains grounded in a harsh reality that our nation, at large, refuses fully to confront."
—The New York Times Book Review
"[A] powerful book ... alive with purpose, conviction and intellect."
—The New York Times
"With this gorgeous chorus — Ward has done the same [as her ancestors]: she has created a world, a space, the one she, herself, was seeking. A new type of belonging, a new place to belong, is exactly what she has given us."
—L.A. Review of Books
"[W]hat The Fire This Time does best is to affirm the power of literature and its capacity for reflection and imagination, to collectively acknowledge the need for a much larger conversation, to understand these split-second actions in present, past, and future tense, the way that stories impel us to do. This is a book that seeks to place the shock of our own times into historical context and, most importantly, to move these times forward."
"The Fire This Time is a powerful, rewarding read that gets to the heart of what it means to be black in America today."
“A half century ago James Baldwin, the prophet in the American wilderness, delivered The Fire Next Time—as complex a reckoning with race, morality and human nature as we have seen. Jesmyn Ward has pulled together in this collection you now hold the incisive, sage, angry and deeply complex voices of a new generation, responding to many of the same questions that confronted us in 1963. To Baldwin's call we now have a choral response—one that should be read by every one of us committed to the cause of equality and freedom.”
—Jelani Cobb, historian
“In 1963, we were poised on a precipice, intellectually, spiritually, politically primed for the change we knew had to come. Now, some half-century later, we are again at the precipice. We are dismayed and disheartened to find ourselves here, aghast that the rules and players have changed but the game, somehow, is the same. What do we do, this post-Civil Rights generation, in the face of the same injustice, dressed in different clothes, coded in different laws? In The Fire This Time, a new generation of black writers speak with the ‘fierce urgency of now.’”
—Ayana Mathis, novelist
“Fires destroy things…burns them up…makes ashes for us all…But fires also keep us warm…give us a glow to sit by…to tell ancestry stories to the children against the rhythmic crackle of history…to make love to against the glow. The generation of segregations gave us The Fire Next Time…we broke down those walls…The generation after segregation gives us the water to mix with the ashes to build…something…anything all…in the words of Margaret Walker…our own. This is a book to pick up and tuck under our hearts to see what we can build.”
—Nikki Giovanni, poet
"Timely contributions to an urgent national conversation."
"An absolutely indispensable anthology."
—Booklist (starred review)
"Ward's remarkable achievement is the gift of freshly minted perspectives on a tale that may seem old and twice-told. Readers in search of conversations about race in America should start here."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)