Twilight Innings: A West Texan on Grace and Survival

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Texas Tech University Press, 2006 - 152 pages
“Twilight Innings is packed with sometimes painful, sometimes funny, but always insightfully drawn experiences that come from everyday life. Fink’s essays have a beginning, middle, and an end. They have characters. They are stories that take you into the corners of his personal world, and it’s a trip worth making. “—Ken Hammond “In these essays Fink puts himself in the middle of the diamond as in the middle of things American, and readers are grateful to be witnesses to the informed heart, the discriminate sympathy, the keen yet modest intelligence, the deftness of his prose strokes.” —Bruce Smith “In the interstices of silence, a spoken word is—paradoxically—dangerously inappropriate and yet desperately desired. Any word uttered must be sure, apt, and, above all, honest. Bob Fink speaks into the void with just such infallible assurance and disarming candor.” —Steve Weathers "In this wise collection of essays Bob Fink leads himself and readers into the lessons nobody trains us for, past survivor’s guilt into survivor’s empathy. Whether writing about the psychological echoes of his military service as an officer ('the young leading the young') in Vietnam, or the death by cancer of poet Jane Kenyon, or entering the small beauties of kindness that visited the horror of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire, or reflecting into the pleasures and metaphoric resonances of baseball, Fink is an amiable witness of what it means to live and teach with faith and compassion."—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Writing the Sacred into the Real “[I am] not really surprised at all to learn that Bob, who has always made good, if occasionally oblique, use of his life experiences in his poems, has done so even more directly in a companionable genre. Those who admire his poems, as I and many others do, will be pleased to learn more here about the man (and about the woman who stands behind, beside, and sometimes in front of him).” —R. S. Gwynn, from the Foreword Previously published in the Cortland Review, Concho River Review, the Iowa Review, the Mississippi Review, River Teeth, the Texas Review, Texas Magazine, and other journals, Robert A. Fink’s essays—joyful, sorrowful, nostalgic, gently sardonic—are collected here for the first time. With a poet’s sensibility, Fink explores his memories of Vietnam; the satisfaction he finds in running; the beauty, order, and grace of baseball; and the necessity of laughter, and of laughing at ourselves. Robert A. Fink is W. D. and Hollis R. Bond Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He is the author of several books of poetry, most recently Tracking the Morning.
 

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Contents

Faith Training
3
Three Texas Barbershops
8
Called to Poetry Abilene
13
Elegy for the Living
18
Ghosts
23
My Vietnam Memory
31
Rescue the Perishing
41
The Schizophrenic Creative Writing Teacher
45
High School Reunion
79
Living with the Outstanding Elementary School Counselor of the Year
83
The Great Abilenian Pastime
87
At FortyNine
93
Have a Coke and a Smile
97
Sunday Will Never Be the Same
102
Heart of the Order
108
My Father Who Played Baseball
113

300 Hitters Take Time to Develop
50
George Newmans Guadalupe Mts Field Trip October 1984
52
Twenty Years Teaching Creative Writing
61
What Value in Suffering?
64
An Onlookers View
71
How I Found Religion at a Baseball Game
117
A Requiem
126
What Forgiveness?
132
Notes
147
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

\Robert A. Fink is W. D. and Hollis R. Bond Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He is the author of several books of poetry, most recently Tracking the Morning.

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