Christopher Bursk
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Chris Bursk

Publications and Awards

  • A Car Stops And A Door Opens (Cavankerry, 2017),
  • A Car Stops And A Door Opens by Christopher Bursk gives us an insight into the anguish of longing, be it the longings of a troubled student or an elderly grandparent. It is poetry that is grounded in the particulars of both childhood and adulthood, and poetry for anyone who remembers what it’s like to be a kid and long for something you can’t put a name to. Not afraid to be naked and to laugh at this nakedness, it knows the sublime and the ridiculous and embraces both.

  • Unthrifty Loveliness (WordTech Communications, 2014),
  • Unthrifty Loveliness by Christopher Bursk spares no resources in its tender depictions of male psyche; with wit, humor, and sharp emotional turns, these poems evoke felt experience at a deep level.

  • Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2014),
  • Joel Brouwer in The New York Times Book Review writes, “If you’re looking for skeptical poststructuralist experiments with language’s unstable elements, look elsewhere. Bursk has bottomless faith in language and its capacities to enlighten and delight.”

  • The Boy With One Wing (Finishing Line Press, 2013),
  • "They say you are judged by the company you keep. In this new collection, The Boy With One Wing, by Christopher Bursk, we are in exceptional company, even if that company is a collection of charismatic imaginary friends. These ingenious, interpretative poems honor the fragile sadness and indulgent joy of being an ageless child in an adult world. Bursk’s keen sense of timing and careful layering delicately touch upon the most honest, painful moments of living, allowing the reader "an opportunity to be braver than we dared believe we could.” Sometimes amusing, consistently authentic, and repeatedly poignant, this collection is a user’s guide for living; engaging the long-forgotten imagination and encouraging us to make amends with our own friendly foes." — Lorraine Henrie Lins

  • The First Inhabitants of Arcadia (University of Arkansas Press, 2006),
  • "Chris Bursk honors the human spirit without ignoring the destructive forces around us. What's more, he does it with language that never falters. How much I admire his intelligent, elegant, and deeply compassionate work." — Sy Safransky

  • The Improbable Swerving of Atoms (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005),
  • “I fell in love with this book from the first page, and stayed in love right through. In this saga of boy-becoming-man, the poet shakes hands with Lucretius’ great work On the Nature of Things, while tracking the winding paths of family, sexuality, politics, history, television, philosophy, and so much more, in language relentlessly crisp yet achingly vulnerable.” — Alicia Suskin Ostriker

  • Ovid at 15 (New Issues Press, 2003)
  • Winner of the 2002 Green Rose Prize, Christopher Bursk’s latest collection is not just profoundly honest; it is profoundly brave. These astonishing poems explore the space between sensuality, sexuality, and love—a landscape in which flawed human beings give birth to the flawed human beings who will one day take care of them, each generation screwing up even as it adds to the universal fund of beauty and compassion. Above all, Ovid at Fifteen reminds us what it means to feel the wonder of life too keenly—to want to throw yourself / off the cliff, plunge / into the very heart of color.

  • Cell Count (Texas Tech University Press, 1997),
  • "Against this age of retribution, Christopher Bursk uses his powerful imagination to unlock the doors of the prison home. Look more closely, he seems to say, don't be afraid, and suddenly there's a human face on the other side of the bars, perhaps a jailhouse poet who 'likes to hear the couplet click shut like a door only he has keys for.' Though these narratives deal necessarily with heartache, their end is not despair, because Bursk draws his portraits with such restrained precision they illuminate for us all the nature of grief, awe, and hope. All the elements of of mature craft are here, including profound empathy..." -Betsy Sholl

  • The One True Religion (Quarterly Review of Literature, 1997),
  • The Way Water Rubs Stone (Word Works, 1989),
  • Places of Comfort, Places of Justice (San Jose Poetry Center Press, 1987),
  • Making Wings (State Street Press, 1983)
  • Little Harbor (Quarterly Review of Literature, 1982)
  • Standing Watch (Houghton-Mifflin, 1978
  • Awards:

  • 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize from Passaic County Community College, NJ;
  • 2006 Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton University, NY;
  • 2004 49th Parallel Poetry Award; 2004 Donald Hall Prize from AWP;
  • 2003 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Poetry & Prose and Western Michigan University;
  • 1995 Pew Fellowship in the Arts;
  • 1987 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship;
  • 1984 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship;
  • 1983 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship.
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