Thomas Fink

Thomas Fink is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Clarity and Other Poems, as well as a 2010 collaboration with Maya Diablo Mason, Autopsy Turvy, and two books of criticism. With Tuzyline Jita Allan, he edited Literature Around the Globe, and with Joseph Lease, he edited Burning Interiors: David Shapiro's Poetry. Fink also edited the Selected Poems of Mark Young and of Jack Lynch.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

I have only served as an editor thrice, and each experience was rewarding. My favorite editing project was the first—an anthology that Tuzyline Jita Allan did for introductory literature courses. It was called Literature Around the Globe (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1994), and it may have been the first such anthology including poetry, fiction, and drama in the U.S. that featured writers of varying races and ethnicities not only from the U.S. but from South and Central America, Africa, the Near East, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Far East. However, within a year or so, other textbooks cropped up. In this pre-internet era, it was such a pleasure to search for and learn about authors from groups or nations whose literature was unfamiliar to me, and Tuzyline and I had a terrific time figuring out who was “in” and in which of the five thematically configured sections we would place them.


against a
oligarchy collect
at least moderate notice
from those plopped before
the sizzling slots. But some fleeced
by doctrines of sour gripes & gropes
won’t deign to assess analytic core within
the shouting. After he chopped off thous ands of
heads and saw ‘em growing back, Jeremiah drafted
a deathbed confession: “I fed my post-adolescent obsession
with the apocalyptic, till losing cool became a profess ional
trademark, skid mark—too much a glee store for the loser. Had I
spoken twice or thrice from a situationist clearing, had I tried
empathic nods to common frailty or slipped into the cryptic or
Socratic, those boozing masses would have. . . .” No, that prophet
bolstered the most abstract patriarchal yoke; he’s an example best re
maindered in the nineteenth century U.S. wilderness or frontier, so that a
godless left can poke freely at ordinary capitalists’ and their admirers’ flanks.


grunt donating
a minimal animal—
what never
jutted in public

text. Post cremation, this
will have come
to form crookedly in
The Collected Lemons, glossy education

rubbed to gray matte,
ordinary sanities thundering banality (florid),
secret exercises fed to inertial tunnels.

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