Love’s Fingerprints | signed


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Love’s Fingerprints investigates the deep imprints made on us by those we love, living and remembered: mother and father, wife/lover, children and grandchildren, ancestors known only through stories passed down, homes long lost and homes holding us today, and two nations—the United States and Israel. Family life intersects with the larger world, with an undercurrent of the Book of Job. “Humane and exuberant,” says Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man.


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The love and relationships between father, mother, son and siblings is tender, palpable, and binds his family down three generations despite anti-Semitism, emigration, a North American trans-continental relocation, and war…. Love’s Fingerprints is a varied, engaging, and accomplished poetry collection. — Amsterdam Quarterly 

Love’s Fingerprints emerges in the ear as a jubilant song of persistent memory that entrancingly recalls a profoundly realized life made rich by the promontories of family and abundant love.  Humane and exuberant, his is the kind of intellect that rushes over the past like water over pebbles, elevating ordinary moments to the realm of art with a luminosity that startles. Such wondrous clarity of language and sound are owed to feats of wisdom but also a loyalty to one’s revelations. — Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man 

Bernard Horn’s poems shine with honesty and reverberate with history. There’s so much in these pages: the shy love between fathers and sons, the miracle of a stranger’s intervention, the fearsome strength of memory. Love’s Fingerprints holds a mirror to all our human fragility and beauty. — Rachel Kadish, author of The Weight of Ink 

Love’s Fingerprints makes its strange and original music from the duet of past and present.… Emerson said that when he was educating himself in his youth, two great parties were in contention, “the party of hope and the party of memory. “ The poems in Love’s Fingerprints belong to both parties, braiding them together in moving dialogue.  — Carl Dennis, author of Practical Gods (2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry)

Love’s Fingerprints is an exquisite collection of poems, prose and portraiture … stories of early memories to present day marriage to the difficulties outside the domestic space—all carefully articulated. Family stories contain­—illuminations as well as suffering­­—objects which stun and shimmer: umbrellas, stitching, and beaches, all “shin[ing] in the distance like tarnished dimes.” There is much … of how we retrieve the wisdom of our past to give us a sense of how to understand our present and precious moments. — Prageeta Sharma, author of Grief Sequence 

The intense dramas Horn depicts in Love’s Fingerprints, as well as the subtle moments of feeling, are always only a breath away from startling connections with biblical or other literary revelations. Horn has a mind that ineluctably connects everything, but at the same time experiences moments—like staring at his wife’s face at dawn—with intense saturation.… The emotional intensity of his mind gives these poems—small and large—including his stunning prose memoir about his father—burning power.  — Alan Feldman, The Golden Coin (Four Lake Prize), and Immortality (Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry) 

Bernard Horn’s poetry is accessible, lush, and engaging.… This stuff innocently and effortlessly grabs you by the neck and tosses you back into your own life and its times. Through consistently wise reflections on nature, philosophy, family, politics, and the Hebrew Bible, Professor Horn leaves us with the literary equivalent of something like a French Impressionist painting. —Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, painter and author of Kabbalah: A Love Story

Horn’s generations are so thoroughly rendered… I welcome his family in my cloistered routine. His observations of strangers are equally compelling. — Verdad Magazine

Praise for Bernard Horn’s Our Daily Words

All the words in the world cupped into a book. This is without a doubt a “must read” book. — Irene Koronas, author of turtle grass and editor of Wilderness House Literary Review 






about Bernard Horn

Loves FingerprintsBernard Horn’s debut poetry collection Our Daily Words was a finalist for the 2011 Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry and winner of the Old Seventy Creek Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in journals including The New York Times, Mississippi Review, and HuffPost, and in Devouring the Green: Anthology of New Writing. His translations of Yehuda Amichai’s poetry from Hebrew to English are published in The New Yorker. His book, Facing the Fires: Conversations with A. B. Yehoshua, is the only work in English about Israel’s pre-eminent novelist. He is Professor of English emeritus at Framingham State University and lives with his wife, artist Linda Klein, in Framingham, Massachusetts.      


My Father Speaks

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

You have forgotten me. The claim you’re fond of–
that you think of me every day when you shave–
what sort of remembrance is that?

In your prayers you murmur the wish
I rest in peace–peace from what? Are you remembering
my chronic rages, as vague to me now

as the fine sleet of winter? Or is it only
an odd sense of proper manners, as if
you really believed in prayer? Better

to speak about me to your grandchildren
in the evening and the morning–
that might calm the restlessness I feel

that has only grown sharper
in this shadowy place, or, even
better, to remember when I could still

swim out beyond the jetties, with you
on my back, your little nails scratching
the skin over my collarbones

as you clung to me in fright and glee
with all your heart and all your might.
Best of all, swim out beyond

whatever breakers hold you back, now,
think of me, and do not be afraid.