In Clarity and Other Poems, Thomas Fink practices “his post-modern debunking” of pervasive “lying in politics, family life, and commerce” (Carole Stone). This new collection continues three series from prior books, “Yinglish Strophes,” “Dented Reprise,” and “Deconstrictive Sestinas,” adds two new ones, “Nonce Sonnets” and “Hay(na)ku Exfoliation,” and includes groupings of visually shaped poems. Paying acute attention to how language operates, Fink achieves powerfully eccentric musical effects.
We may be stuck in a world where “Casinos are in every cortex,” but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t also room for “Aspiring Democracy” to burst forth. Tom Fink’s brilliant constructions should help us in this struggle. —Joanna Fuhrman
On After Taxes:
"Comedy is as cathartic, as cleansing, as tragedy. That such poetry should exist at all should fill us with wonder and awe and make us laugh out loud. . . . A little bit of Fink's poetry goes a long way. "Motel / with permanent no- / vacancy scowl: chipped latex." The exactitude of that, corrosive. A benchmark. Measure it against poets who subtract rather than add to the language. It's an ethical imperative for me." –Jonathan Mayhew
"Today after this all-you-can-eat buffet of conventional verse, Fink hit the spot-the standard American rhetoric is in there, and the torquing verges on Bruce Andrewsesque, but it's so cheerful when it comes from Fink, I don't care about anything besides which crazy word he's going to plug into the grid next."–Jordan Davis
“What’s left after taxes usually causes heartburn: so much effort for so little return! But in Thomas Fink’s After Taxes, 'pogo loam' becomes a symbol for a result that “exceeds forecast.” An “impossible swell/persists” –especially admirable in the longer poems—and it is music ever-ascending and all the more rewarding for the craft made visible by extraordinary diction. Fink’s poems discover sounds that had been veiled by contexts and meanings. Thus, 'a vase/ smash rage' and not the other way around as would be assumed by a lackadaisical culture. For as Fink notes, 'There [was] something new/ and learned/ before you read/ the page' and he determined to excavate. The rewards are ours if we recognize what this collection craftily and craft-fully achieves: bypassing the binary of operatic ornamentation or matter-of-fact tones to encompass both, thus effecting a 21st century Song.”–Eileen R. Tabios
“After taxes, when most of us feel fleeced, Thomas Fink opens his secret accounts. The wealth of his world is acoustic, and endless, and available to all. By turns observant and inventive, these poems find the parts of our lives beyond all tithes, turning our obligations and debts into freedom and abundance. No one listens like this poet does, or so shows us the hidden worth of our words.”–Joseph Donahue
ISBN: 978-0-9792416-4-2 $15.00