Norman Finkelstein is a poet and literary critic. His books of poetry include Restless Messengers (Georgia, 1992), Passing Over (Marsh Hawk, 2007), and Scribe (Dos Madres, 2009). His three-volume serial poem Track (Spuyten Duyvil 1999, 2002, 2005) has been called by Paul Auster "one of the most brilliant and audacious works in recent American literature." His most recent collection, Inside the Ghost Factory will be published by Marsh Hawk in the fall of 2010. He has written extensively about modern and postmodern poetry, and about Jewish American literature; the most recent of his five books of criticism is On Mt. Vision: Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2010). Recent poems, essays and reviews have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Cincinnati Review, Contemporary Literature, Colorado Review and on the website of the Cultural Society.
Finkelstein was born in New York City in 1954. He received his B.A. from Binghamton University and his Ph.D. from Emory University. He is a Professor of English at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I have built a machine to visit the stars.
I have built a machine to outlast the stars.
There is a glass ball inside a copper egg.
There are dynamos and turbines, Tesla coils and magnets.
There is a boy in Brooklyn, Wisconsin
and a boy in Eddington, England.
They are the same boy. There is a man in a hat
in Baraboo. They are all named Tom.
They are all named Dr. Evermor, which is now
their real name. Queen Victoria is watching
among the giant insects, the fiddle-shaped birds.
The stray voltage goes in the stray voltage
cages, all silver, red and blue. The music
will signal the ascent. This is the Overlord
Master Control, this is the Graviton,
these are the Celestial Listening Ears.
When you ask me what has changed my life,
I tell you motors, generators, compressors, transformers;
I tell you boilers, pumps, transmitters and flywheels.
When you ask me if I found them I say no,
I rescued them.