[The book is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble (Buy Now button) in advance its September 7, 2020 release date.]
Moving at surprising angles between the personal and the public world, Gary Fincke’s poems lead to discoveries that are both exhilarating and unsettling. In long sequences and precisely observed shorter poems, he explores terrorism, mass hysteria, climate change, political calamity, and the necessity of sustaining belief. He references science and history as well as myth. He grounds his poems in experience. Gary Fincke’s poems speak to the reader with an urgency driven by the elusiveness of truth.
About the Author
Gary Fincke’s latest collection of poems, The Infinity Room, won the Wheelbarrow Books Prize for Established Poets (Michigan State, 2019). Winner of Poetry Magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and Ohio State’s Wheeler Prize, he has published fourteen collections of poetry. His fiction and nonfiction collections have won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction and the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose. He recently retired after founding and then directing the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University for decades.
Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries is a masterful collection of poems, particularly relevant for these difficult times, but like all great poetry, timeless in its own way. Fincke drills home what so many of us feel about the current state of our country with sharp insights grounded in complex imagery and spiced with wit and anger, empathy and loss. You too may find yourself nodding as you read, thinking, “yes, yes, this is how it is.”
With an unflinching gaze, Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries grapples with our collective failure at good stewardship—of our planet, ourselves, and each other “…as if ruin were a handsome prince.” In poems with themes as disparate as trepanning, climate change, suicide bombers, pandemics, clever forgeries, or the theft of one hundred brains from a hospital lab, our iniquities are laid bare and we are refused easy answers or hollow consolation. But Fincke adamantly eschews condemnation. In work by turns solemn and humorous, he manages to master a seemingly impossible paradox: despite the knowledge that “the world ripens without us…and we are sorely unmissed,” though “we carry the memory of comfort like a congenital hump,” there is still a chance at ultimate redemption where our “futures will have beauty and flight.” These are timely, necessary poems that reward our reading and richly deserve our closest attention.
Praise for earlier books by Gary Fincke:
Gary Fincke brings a penetrating gaze and an elegiac tenderness to the telling “news items” he discovers in a world haunted by intimations of mortality.
I am moved by how deeply these poems engage working class experiences, the intersection between the personal and the historical, the flawed, overlooked and often forgotten side of our daily realm . . . a book to be remembered.
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