Joseph Lease



breathe  me  morn  and  morn  me  when:

everything said the house: death said the

house, the house said death,  death said



eyes, your  ears, your light, sexy answer:

"when  everybody  gets   around  the  big

table and": blue bed, blue bed: how fresh

and clean, O, Lord, are Thy returns: once

more I smell the dew and rain:


I was kissing what you wrote: believe her:

and  you  were  lost  and  found, and you

were   trains   and rings:  lights,  camera,



breathe me morn and morn me when—

red  pears to wear,  answer to dancing,

vodka to hoping, hoping to open, roses

and glisten—listen and listen—


I  was   kissing   what   you   wrote—each

peaches, each amazing, each: so always,

you never say never, so always, I want to





JOSEPH LEASE’S critically acclaimed books of poetry include 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” have been selected for Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. “‘Broken World’ (For James Assatly)” was also selected for The Best American Poetry 2002.The Academy of American Poets anthologized Lease’s poem“True Faith” on, and e-mailed the poem to 70,000 subscribers. Lease’s poem “Free Again (Why don’t people)” appeared in The New York Times.

Marjorie Perloff has written: “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!”

Lease has received the Academy of American Poets Prize and grants and awards in poetry and poetics from Columbia University, Harvard University, Brown 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.

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