Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Intrusive Beauty

By Joseph J. Capista

“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

“Capista’s choice to write about unglamorous aspects of his life is consistently surprising and offers multiple opportunities for readers to connect with his poems’ narratives and the philosophical predicaments he uses those narratives to explore…[t]he book is powerful in the humility it strikes as it bears witness to the often underwhelming and still splendid life of an artist. I see myself everywhere in its breath.”

Iron Horse Review

“Capista doesn’t shy away from the joys of rollicking through language’s innate richness of sound and meter. In his debut collection … little gems of insight and deep reflection [sparkle] throughout. [Capista] has the ability to see beauty in all places, and through his keen observations, he allows us to see this beauty, too."

Baltimore Magazine

“Capista has his hand on all aspects of this art. His craft is impeccable, often witty, and always refreshing…[t]he poet expresses essential goodness in daily acts, and takes on this art to prove it to us. This is a reward for the writer and the reader.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

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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Baltimore Magazine “My Favorite Baltimore Books of 2019”


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In Series

Hollis Summers Poetry Prize




Retail price: $17.95, T.
Release date: March 2019
90 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: March 2019
90 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Intrusive Beauty

"Contemporary poetry rarely has a melodic cadence, as rhythmic poetry is somehow considered unsophisticated. But Joseph J. Capista doesn’t shy away from the joys of rollicking through language’s innate richness of sound, as he weaves narratives about Baltimore, life as a husband and father, and the elegance of the natural world. The Towson University professor has the ability to see beauty in all places, and through his observations, he allows us to see it, too.“

Baltimore Magazine

“(Intrusive Beauty demands a reader willing to talk back and engage with its sometimes troubling depictions of violence without setting the book down too long. Making that commitment to reading and rereading offers a significant reward. Some books you reread because you want to get another hit of dopamine. I reread Intrusive Beauty because I wanted a second round with it, to go back for a rematch. Which was, I have to say, more rewarding.”

Joshua Jones, Barrelhouse Reviews

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