Christopher Bursk
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Chris Bursk


  • Bostonia, Fall 2014
  • - "A multiple award–winning poet for many decades, Bursk devotes much of his collection to ironic scrutiny of his chosen profession. Lacing his verse with searing wit and wreaking gleeful havoc with words and even individual letters, he is also adept at plunging a dagger squarely into the reader’s heart. Selected Poems opens with a kind of metameditation on a livelihood that, like the word market in The Phantom Tollbooth, puts a price on alliteration and simile, a business that offers crumbs for couplets. ..." read more

  • Good Reads Reviews
  • - "Of Christopher Bursk’s poetry, 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.” Bursk’s Selected Poems reveal their author’s trust in those odd little bits of breath we call vowels and consonants to engage the world. Drawing on his experience as..." read more

  • Poetry Daily
  • - "Herman Melville, Matthew Arnold, Sarah Orne Jewett, Dusty Rhodes, and Hoyt Wilhelm skinny-dip and pick up gondoliers and cut figure eights into the ice in Christopher Bursk's new collection. But the main cast of characters for these poems is the alphabet itself, "the first inhabitants of Arcadia, now homesick, curious exiles from Eden..." read more

  • - "Christopher Bursk's The First Inhabitants of Arcadia is a charming declaration of love for the English language--for words, letters (both their shapes and sounds), for prefixes, suffixes, parts of speech, punctuation. And with just enough pathos, current event and political dimension this collection, without really trying, serves as a humanistic counterpart to all the intellectual movements that ultimately seem hostile to, or at least fundamentally frustrated by, language. As a result, in an age when books and scholar-poets are rarely considered charming, it is a pleasure to read a poet who takes such pleasure in his medium. Bursk's work, like Debussy's tone-poem, reflects the composer's belief: "There is no theory, only pleasure..." read more

  • Wikipedia
  • - "Bursk writes with verve and insight about child rearing, aging parents, sexuality, his literary heroes, the sexuality of his literary heroes. His poems have been published in literary journals and magazines including..." read more

  • Sun Magazine
  • - "CHRIS BURSK lives in Langhorne Manor, Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books of poetry, including The Improbable Swervings of Atoms (University of Pittsburgh Press). When he’s not teaching or writing poetry, he spends much of his time..." read more

  • Western Michigan University
  • - "In Ovid at Fifteen, Christopher Bursk returns to myth again and again, finding it transformed each time and then allowing it to transform us. Like Ovid before him, he examines transformation in particular, and in his hands it becomes a metaphor for growing, aging, changing..." read more

  • Pew Fellowships
  • - "Words conceal worlds in Christopher Bursk’s poems about the people and the penal system. He catches the small things in addition to the obvious physical characteristics that define a person, vividly calling to life someone like a “275 lb. safecracker proud of keeping his fingernails and underwear clean in jail.” We realize that such a character occupies space not only in Mr. Bursk’s writing class, but in his moral universe as well. Characters reappear in his work as if they were regular motifs of poetry, like nature or landscape or emotions themselves..." read more

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