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Always, Poems by Julia Lisella

Always, Julia Lisella’s new collection of lyric and free-verse poems, explores the transition from youth to midlife when what once seemed like impossible or impassable hurdles that might have made us feel hopeless in our twenties—war, hypocrisy, pain, illness, death, terrible grief—are full of creative possibilities for us later in life, to renew or even to reinvent. Characters emerge in Always that explore, observe, and instruct: St. Francis, a young boy, teenage girls, a mother in mid-life, husbands and wives, teachers and students, 19th century writers, and dead parents who speak from their full lives into the future.

Sample Poems by Julia Lisella

“In taut lyrics that counterpoint the agonizing decline and loss of parents, with vivid details of the everyday, St. Francis’s stigmata of the mystical and ecstatic somehow comfortably integrate with parables of the stigmatized. As Lisella deftly engages what’s beyond easy reckoning, there are also echoes of Mina Loy and H.D. here, and Blake chides us for our ‘overgrownness’ and our greed. Hers is a tangible inheritance too, populated by the ‘black-wooled adults’ of an ethnic past, full of haunting, grief, and devotion, above all.”—Peter Covino

“Honesty and mystery coexist in the poems of Always. Lisella uses the resources of poetry to access a moving generosity, as powerfully felt rhythms and keen, courageous self-observation carry human experience to a place that is at once wilder and more encompassing than the ordinary.”—Annie Finch

Always—a concept, Julia Lisella says, we can’t understand, and yet have a word for. Such conundrums fill these lovely and lucid poems. It’s not easy to make complex riddles clear, but that is what these poems do, exploring the tension between ‘dust and devotion,’ body and spirit, or in her ongoing dialogue with St. Francis, that dual attraction of denial and embrace. ‘Make something beautiful,’ this poet thinks in one poem, and she certainly does—not the cold beauty of the finished, the resolved, but the rich and deep beauty of the journey, the struggle itself.”—Betsy Sholl

Julia Lisella is the author of Terrain and Love Song Hiroshima, a chapbook. She is Associate Professor of English at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. She grew up in Queens, New York, and received a BA from Barnard College, an MA in creative writing from New York University and a PhD from Tufts University. Her poems have been widely anthologized and appear in such journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Valparaiso, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, and on line at Antiphon, Literary Mama, Pebble Lake Review and other sites. She has received residencies from the Millay, Dorset and MacDowell Colonies for the arts and has held several grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In addition to writing poetry she is a scholar of American modernism.

ISBN 978-1625491053, 88 pages

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