New York on Fire by Hilton Obenzinger

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Seattle. The Real Comet Press. 1989. First Edition. Softcover. Book Condition: Near Fine, slight pockmarks to cover. 144pp. (ill. in b/w).

This unique volume is a poetic anthropology of epic proportion, following the history of fires that have historically ravaged New York. Starting in 1613 when a Dutch ship burned in the harbor, Obenzinger’s research includes the Crystal Palace, Barnum’s American Museum, the Triangle Shirt Factory, and more. The book formally riffs down the page, remixing photos from the FDNY archives with names and dates and a multitude of speakers, challenging the historian’s project with a discourse embodied by that choiring of flames chased from broken stanza to bolded line.

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