"After the Serpent's Word," a volume of poetry by Francis Fike, professor of English at Hope College, has recently been published by Fithian Press in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The book is a collection of 43 poems, blending
together new works with some that were published earlier.
Poet and critic X.J. Kennedy, commenting on the
book, says that Fike "finds grace and ceremony in the
ordinary...I admire his lyrics, his epigrams, his skilled
translations from Old English, French, and Latin. Fike aims
high: clearly he sets himself to write in the great
tradition of those who insisted, like Hardy and the late
master formalist Yvor Winters, on clear sense, moral
insight, and tightly controlled craft." John Daniel, owner
and editor of Fithian Press, adds that "Fike's poems
demonstrate that form does not limit a poem but can, when
wielded with ease and discipline, give a poem power."
"After the Serpent's Word" is Fike's third book of
poetry. "Underbrush" was published in 1986, and "In the
Same Rivers" in 1989, both by Robert L. Barth of Florence,
Ky. His poems have also been published in many well-known
literary journals including "The Classical Outlook," "The
Epigrammatist," "The Formalist," "Hellas" and "The Southern
Fike received his B.A. from Duke University and a
Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.
He was awarded a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at
Stanford University, where he earned an M.A. in creative
writing (poetry), with Yvor Winters as his mentor, then a
Ph.D. with an emphasis in Victorian literature.
He joined the Hope College faculty in 1968. He
taught previously at Cornell University.
Fike is the author of many scholarly articles and
reviews, including studies of a wide range of British and
American literature and studies combining theology and
literature. He has also published personal essays, most
notably "A Skulk of Foxes," which appeared in "Audubon"
magazine in 1984. He currently serves as poetry editor for
Copies of "After the Serpent's Word" are available from
the college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore for $10.