Poetry/Jewish Studies. Six extended poems.
Available Autumn 2023. Available at Special Advance Price prior to publication.
Joseph Lease’s Fire Season, composed in the heat of global and personal apocalypse, is one of the most intimate books I’ve ever encountered. “I’m writing inside death, I’m / in the room.” Anyone who comes this close to death succumbs to its power to eradicate all pretense. Lease’s language is simple, direct: “what is real / (maybe sunlight / (my mother’s face.” Words reappear like recurring dreams, brilliantly embodying Jack Spicer’s dictum: “A really perfect poem has an infinitely small vocabulary.” The prosody here is tightly structured yet raw, employing a subtle lyricism that at times turns insistent, tugging the reader’s sleeve like an urgent child. Open parentheses permeate the text like stutters or ruptured membranes. They connect, shield, spill, but never ever close. Fire Season is achingly beautiful. Halfway through my first read I started crying. — Dodie Bellamy
It has been long-established that Joseph Lease is the riven yet unwearied conscience of American poetry. With these new poems, he has taken on the necessary, hazardous task of bringing that conscience to bear upon the Abyss — an Abyss that is, sadly, entirely of our making. The constancy and acumen of this collection is breathtaking. Its beauties are permanent. If real poems have any future at all, that future begins here. — Donald Revell
In this finely crafted collection of poems, we are invited to love ourselves in the midst of what ails us. Each poem is a kaleidoscope of shedding and remembrance where objects become subjects wrapped in secular prayer. We are on the move (free falling at times) as we are reminded of all that matters and wears away. Lease continues to gift his readers with vulnerability, music and truth. — Xochiquetzal Candelaria