Christopher Bursk
Home Press/Reviews Books Poems Readings

Chris Bursk

Dr. Christopher Bursk

Chris Bursk, recipient of NEA, Guggenheim, and Pew Fellowships, is the author of nine books including his most recent, The First Inhabitants of Arcadia from the University of Arkansas Press, 2006. In addition to having worked as a volunteer for three decades in the corrections system, with those on probation and parole, he is currently a professor of language and literature at Bucks County Community College. His work has appeared in magazines such as Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Manhattan Review, and The Sun. His poem, “Ovid at Fifteen,” won the Another Chicago Magazine Award, judged by Robert Dana. Chris has won numerous awards for his humanitarian and literary efforts including Bucks County Citizen of the Year and Poet Laureate of Bucks County. His book - The Infatuations and Infidelities of Pronouns - won the Bright Hill Chapbook competition and is scheduled for publication in the Spring, 2011. He is most importantly the grandfather of six.


The Visitor

    Sent to Hell, Sir, and punished everlastingly.

On the morning before Dr. Johnson died,
a stranger, a near-blind girl, pushed into his bedroom.
Even before his friends suspected
that she'd opened the front door, she had
lifted the small, troubled congregation of his huge fingers
and held them to her face and demanded
the great man bless her. Only a week before,
the author of The Vanity of Human Wishes
had urged the physician's hand
to stab deeper, lancing the swollen leg.
Later, he had found scissors and driven them into his calf.
To go to the root of the infection?
To cut away all that was vile in him?
I will not be conquered. I will not capitulate.
Now barely able to shape his breath
into sounds, he — already convinced
of his own irredeemable wickedness —
did bless the child as if he had decided to believe
words still had a right
to do that: not heal but make tolerable;
not lighten the load, but enable one
to take up its heavy weight; not restore sight,
but help one bear not seeing.

The First Inhabitants of Arcadia

704 Hulmeville Avenue
Langhorne Manor, PA 19047
Phone: (215) 752-5101

© Christopher Bursk 2015 All Rights Reserved
email WEBMASTER with questions or problems