Alumnus and Professor Joseph Fasano '08 Releases Novel 'The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing'

BY Felix van Kann, September 11, 2020

The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing, the new novel by alumnus and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Undergraduate Creative Writing Joseph Fasano '08, was released by Platypus Press on September 1. It’s Fasano’s debut novel after publishing three books of poetry. The novel is getting released in both the US and the UK and can be purchased here


The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing leads readers deep into the mountains of British Columbia, across an unforgiving landscape, where one man’s pursuit of a fabled mountain lion leads him into the furthest reaches of himself. As he struggles to confront the wilderness surrounding him—from the baying hounds to the relentless northern snows—he journeys into his own haunted memories: a life of wild horses and ballet, fishing skiffs and blizzards, tropical seas and dolphins. Through wind, snow, and the depths of grief, he asks what price he is willing to exact on a world that ravages what we love, and whether redemption awaits those who learn to forgive. An excerpt can be found on the Platypus Press website.  


After its first week of release, the novel has already made it to the Small Press Distribution Fiction Bestsellers list, in addition to being covered on their list of SPD Recommends. It has also received many positive reviews by outlets like Publishers Weekly, The Book Slut and The Masters Review. “Fasano’s beautiful, harrowing novel occupies the space between desire and despair through vivid, harrowing descriptions of the father’s perspective on nature,” wrote Publishers Weekly. “In a narrative simultaneously poetic and horrific, Fasano explores the unforgiving nature of the wild world while illuminating the sorrow and guilt that drive the man to extreme measures.”

Joseph Fasano is the author of four books of poetry: The Crossing (Cider Press, 2018), Fugue for Other Hands (Cider Press, 2013), which won the 2011 Cider Press Review Book Award; Inheritance (Cider Press, 2014), which has been nominated for the James Laughlin Award; and Vincent (Cider Press, 2015). A winner of the RATTLE Poetry Prize, he has been a finalist for the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, and he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, among other honors. His work has appeared in publications including The Yale Review, The Southern Review, Boston Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Tin House, FIELD, Measure, and Passages North, and he has several times been featured in the Academy of American Poets’ poem-a-day program and on Verse Daily. Fasano’s Fugue for Other Hands was recently nominated by the acclaimed poet Linda Pastan for the Poets’ Prize, “awarded annually for the best book of verse published by a living American poet two years prior to the award year.” In addition to Columbia University, Fasano also teaches at Manhattanville College.