No Fire Could Burn
By John Hejduk
Monacelli Press, Paperback, 9781580930383, 127pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 1999
Architect and educator John Hejduk has devoted his life work to creating worlds, not only in his analytic architecture but in his mission to change the structure of architectural education. Hejduk has always accompanied all facets of his work with a haunting poetic narrative. He conceives for his projects a literary counterpoint or dramatic verbal discourse. In his books, he weaves together text and textured drawings, and he has conceived of his works as a cinematic repertory group of structures.
The seventy-three poems in Lines are a construction by an architect who seeks out the complex relationships of mother and son, of angels and their mysterious flights, of mental landscapes on the earth and in the sea; it is an entire book of idiosyncratic prayer, sustaining an almost unbearable tone of directness and suffering. These powerful religious poems offer strange combinations, where Jesus, Rodin, and Braque may coexist. Hejduk details the agony of consciousness itself in wild and concentrated stanzas, offering a kind of major mass for those who understand and have the power to voice affliction and the drive to transcend it in sacred music, bringing forth a new understanding of what it means to be human within the earthly substance and the celestial air. This book of courage and despair crowns Hejduk's life work.