Irons in the Fire
This book is described by Nor Hall as “a praise-piece to duplicitous metal-artful and harrowing-and to its handlers.” Part One, "Irons in the Fire," is a prose character sketch of iron and iron workers, “the people who work iron and can’t keep their hands off it.” These are strangely passionate people (the real “Iron Johns” and “Janes”!) with “a compulsion to adore that binds them in an essential community of iron men and ferrous women.” Offering a history, mythology, and psychology of the element iron, both alchemical and industrial, this work is a major addition to the tradition of non-dogmatic psychological commentary on myth that includes Jung, Bachelard, and James Hillman, to which Hall adds a profoundly feminist dimension.
Author of the classic feminist work The Moon and the Virgin, Nor Hall writes her own visionary, erotic, psychotherapy as a mythopoetics. In this new work she draws new meaning from world mythology, particularly Yoruban Vodoun, and the Greek myths surrounding Vulcan (Hephaestus). Her psychological insight and literary flare illuminate a subject that, though rarely discussed, lies at the root of industrial modernity and its connection with contemporary art and imagination. Part Two, an extended poetic work called “The End of the Iron Age,” is “one woman’s love song & fear song: an epic ode to matters of a lifetime out of which iron’s images extrude.” Borrowing a structural principle from W. C. Williams’ Paterson, yet ground breaking in its own right, it takes the poetic impulse back to its epic roots, speaking beyond literature as such, straight to the human psyche at large.
“Everything Nor Hall touches turns to gold.” – Norman O. Brown
“Real & profound, “aroused by metal,” there is always a woman in the fire!” – Anne Waldman
“Nor Hall has culled new flowers from old vines. The myths and their figures are familiar—but her way of being with her symbols is fresh, bold, and especially sensitive.” – James Hillman