“Both wry and ardent, Intrusive Beauty is an immensely accomplished book. Readers have all the pleasures of great poetry here—nuanced syntax, a musician’s harmonious ear, and a remarkably deft and varied handling of form.… Nothing is precious here—even the poems about fatherhood and nature, those baited traps, are leapt over by Capista’s nimble speaker.”
Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi
Joseph J. Capista’s Intrusive Beauty reckons with reluctant ecstasy and the improbable forms that beauty assumes. In this powerful debut, Capista traverses earth and ether to yield poems that elucidate the space between one’s life and one’s livelihood. While its landscapes range from back-alley Baltimore to the Bitterroot Valley, this book remains close to unbidden beauty and its capacity to sway one’s vision of the world. Whether a young father who won’t lower the volume on the radio or a Victorian farm boy tasked with scaring birds from seed-sown furrows, the inhabitants of Intrusive Beauty are witness to the startling ease with which one’s assorted lives come in time to comprise a singular life. Mortality, love, duty, desire, an acute longing for transcendence: here, old themes resound anew as they’re uttered in a multiplicity of forms and means, holding fast always to the heart.
Joseph J. Capista teaches at Towson University. A recipient of awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and lives with his family in Baltimore. More info →
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In Doubtful Harbor, Idris Anderson turns wandering into art. From large landscapes to the minutest details, she seeks with each poem to convey the world more clearly, acutely, and exquisitely. As she meditates on indelible moments with intimate others, friends, and strangers, she teases from these encounters their elusive connections and disconnections.
Penumbra—Michael Shewmaker’s debut collection—explores the half-shadows of a world torn between faith and doubt. From intricate descriptions of the rooms in a dollhouse, to the stark depiction of a chapel made of bones, from pre-elegies for a ghostly father, to his compelling treatment of his obsessed, human characters (a pastor, a tattoo artist, a sleepwalker, to name only a few), these are poems that wrestle with what it means to believe in something beyond one’s own mortality.
In Animal Purpose, Michelle Y. Burke explores the lives of men and women as they stand poised between the desire to love and the compulsion to harm. She scours the hard edges of the world to find “fleeting softness,” which she wishes “into the world like pollen that covers everything.”
In The Surface of the Lit World, Shane Seely draws on a wide range of sources — from personal memory to biblical narrative — to explore the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, the ways in which we make meaning of our lives. Seely delves into the ways in which family and environment shape us. Poems ranging from terse, meditative lyrics to more direct narratives examine the relationship between what lies visible on the lit surface and what lies just beneath.