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Arts & Culture

Fire: Sparking Imagination Since 2 Million B.C.

Annie Roi
flickr creative commons

Fire imagery abounds in music, literature, art, and scripture. It thrives at the center of ceremony and ritual around the world. We associate fire with sentiments of passion, anger, transformation, purity, and even evil itself.

Some say our fascination with fire is owed to the fact that, of all creatures, we alone possess the ability to create and control it.

They say at its center, fire burns hottest. So stand back and listen close, for this hour, we journey straight to its core. It's one heck of a hot topic, and we're guessing it'll spark your interest.

Here's the full reading of Charles Wright's poem "A Short History of the Shadow":


  • Steve Pyne - Author of Moved by Fire: History's Promethean Moment and Fire: A Brief History
  • Eric Rabkin - Professor emeritus of English language and literature and of art & design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Gary Snyder - Poet
  • Christian Tryon - Assistant professor of anthropology at Harvard
  • Charles Wright - The 50th Poet Laureate of the United States

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Colin McEnroe, Greg Hill, Jonathan McNicol, and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired January 14, 2015.

Josh is a producer for WNPR's talk shows. He has produced for Where We Live and is currently producing for The Colin McEnroe Show.

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