around the Heart
Poems by Gary Fincke
Fincke’s new collection is a poetry grounded in memorable
places and characters. He wants readers to remember the
voices they hear in the poems, the work the characters do,
the families they have, the things they believe in and strive
to live up to. There is also a sense of the larger world
layered into nearly every poem—history, politics,
science, culture. Here too are poems about the mysteries
of adolescence, capturing moments of youthful dreaming and
wishing. Told in a confiding tone, these are very accessible
and inviting poems about the way we redeem ourselves daily,
a poetry that, as distinguished poet and critic Edward Hirsch
put it, “memorializes the past and honors the life
around the Heart shows Gary Fincke at his inimitable
best. . . . Fincke writes a poetry of abiding generosity,
of true feeling and thought. His is an essential American
Jones, author of The Kingdom of the Instant
poetry that is both accessible and yet strange, both true
and yet mysterious.”
Hudgins, author of Ecstatic in the Poison
may be one damned thing after another, but this book shows
that the broken things of this world can be made to mean
and sometimes even shine.”
Kasdorf, author of Sleeping Preacher
Fincke is a professor of English and director
of the Writers’ Institute at Susquehanna University.
He has published sixteen books of poetry and short fiction
as well as Amp’d, a memoir, about his son’s
rock band. He has won numerous awards, including two Pushcart
Prizes and the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction
for his collection, Sorry I Worried You. Among
his previous poetry collections are Writing Letters
for the Blind, winner of the Ohio State University
Press/The Journal Award, and Almanac for Desire.
He was also the coach of his university’s men’s
tennis team for twenty years.
104 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
$16.95 (s) paper
ISBN 978-1-55728-786-1 | 1-55728-786-4
the title poem, Standing around the Heart
stood, in health class, around the cow’s heart
Miss Hutchings unwrapped on her desk.
And out, she said, we need to know ourselves,
Halving that heart to show us auricles,
Ventricles, valves, the wall well-built or else.
Her fingers found where arteries begin.
She pressed the ends of veins. Richard Turner,
Whose father’s heart had halted, examined
His hands. Anne Cole, whose father had revived
To cut hair at the mall, stepped back, turning
From the outlet to the steer’s aorta,
The four chambers we were required to know.
While we watched, Miss Hutchings unwrapped the hearts
Of chickens and turkeys, the hearts of swine
And sheep, arranged them by size on the thick,
Brown sack, leaving a space, we knew, for ours.
We took our pulses. We listened by way
Of her stethoscopes, to each other, boy
To boy, girl to girl, because of the chance
We’d touch. . . .