In Memoriam: Christopher Bursk, Poet and Pew Fellow

11 Aug 2021


Pew Fellow Christopher Bursk. Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Pew Fellow Christopher Bursk passed away on June 21, 2021, at the age of 78.  

A prolific poet, Bursk published seventeen books of poetry (his most recent “With Aeneas in a Time of Plague” was published posthumously in July), in addition to work published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and literary journals, including Paris Review and The American Poetry Review.  

Bursk taught composition, creative writing, and literature at Bucks County Community College from 1971 until the time of his death. He also volunteered at Bucks County Correctional Facility, teaching a creative writing course to incarcerated people for over 30 years. He wrote his 1997 book of poetry Cell Count about his experience volunteering in the prison. 

In addition to his 1995 Pew Fellowship, Bursk received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He earned an MA and PhD from Boston University, an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and a BA from Tufts University. He also received an AA from Bucks County Community College in 2021. 

Read some of Bursk’s work at