Poetry Lawrence Joseph Into It: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780374175696

Into It: Poems

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9780374175696: Into It: Poems

Strikingly contemporary new work by an acclaimed poet

Into It, Lawrence Joseph's fourth book of poems, is as bold a book as any in American poetry today-an attempt to give voice to the extremes of American reality in the time since, as Joseph puts it, "the game changed."

Joseph's first three books dramatized the challenge of maintaining one's self in a world in the hold of dehumanizing forces. The new book finds him in a time and place where "the immense enlargement / of our perspectives is confronted / by a reduction of our powers of action"-where the word "wargame" is a verb and "the weight of violence / is unparalleled in the history / of the species." Along the New York waterfront, on a crowded street, at the site where the World Trade Center stood: Joseph enters into these places to capture the thoughts and images, the colors and feelings, and the language that give the present its pressured complexity. Few contemporary writers have been able to shape this material into poetry, but Joseph has done so masterfully-in poems that are daring, searching, and classically satisfying.
Into It is a new work by a poet of great originality and scope.

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About the Author:

Lawrence Joseph's Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973-1993 will be published in paperback in September. He lives in downtown Manhattan and is a professor of law at St. John's University School of Law.

From Booklist:

Joseph is an attorney as well as a poet, which accounts for the legal tone of the title of his retrospective collection, Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos. Joseph also has a penchant for reasoning, yet these are molten works, and reading through his earlier poems is to journey through his poetic and philosophical development. Beneath the stable crust of memory is a search for identity. Joseph delves into his ancestry by considering his Lebanese and Syrian Catholic grandparents' homelands and history, and their place as Arab emigrants in the U.S. Through reflection on this heritage and the violence of his Detroit childhood, Joseph ponders anger, choice, and fate.

Into It, which collects his newest work, reveals a different poetic voice, one that is more abstract and fluid. Here Joseph is less narrative-based and more symbolic, less angry and more disillusioned, less personal and more universal. Many lyrics seem "coded" with essayistic digressions that gracefully intertwine question, observation, and emotion. Being a New Yorker in a 9/11 world has certainly resonated with Joseph, and the melancholy, grief, and hope of so many people coming to grips with large-scale violence is palpable. Many of these poems are deftly painted (perhaps an influence from his painter wife) with feeling as brushstroke, judgment as perspective, language as dimension, metaphor as theme. Janet St. John
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