Artists You Need to Know – Joseph Lease – I Write Poems that Embody a Spiritual Mystery and Enact Dance (National Poetry Month)

Joseph Lease’s critically acclaimed books of poetry include, The Body Ghost (Coffee House Press, forthcoming in 2018), Testify (Coffee House Press, 2011), and Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007). Lease’s poems “‘Broken World’ (For James Assatly)” and “Send My Roots Rain” were anthologized in Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. Lease’s poem “‘Broken World’ (For James Assatly)” was anthologized in The Best American Poetry (Robert Creeley, Guest Editor). His poem “Free Again (Why don’t people)” was published in The New York Times. Marjorie Perloff wrote: “The poems in Joseph Lease’s Broken World are as cool as they are passionate, as soft-spoken as they are indignant, and as fiercely Romantic as they are formally contained. Whether writing an elegy for a friend who died of AIDS or playing complex variations on Rilke’s Duino Elegies (“If I cried out, / Who among the angelic orders would / Slap my face, who would steal my / Lunch money”), Lease has complete command of his poetic materials. His poems are spellbinding in their terse and ironic authority: Yes, the reader feels when s/he has finished, this is how it was—and how it is. An exquisite collection!” Michael Bérubé called Broken World “remarkably inventive and evocative work from Joseph Lease, one of the finest poets writing today.” Lease’s poetry readings are collected at PennSound, The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, KQED (NPR), The Scottish Poetry Library, and The Poetry Project. Lease has received The Academy of American Poets Prize and numerous grants and awards in poetry and poetics from Columbia University, Brown University, Harvard University, and California College of the Arts. He is a Professor of Writing and Literature at California College of the Arts and a member of the Advisory Board of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.

Here is a great Interview with Coffee House Press where he talks about the many different aspects of his work.

Here is a link to his PennSound page where you can here Lease read selected poems. Here is a link to his Scottish Poetry Library page.

The following poem has been published in journals and is a part of The Body Ghost (Coffee House Press, forthcoming in 2018).

             Mercy                 

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