Love & a jukebox: Two recent releases

I love keeping track of who is doing what, especially when those “who”s are former interview subjects on the Poetic Asides blog. Joseph Mills and Sandra Beasley have both recently released new collections.


Press 53 published Joseph Mills’ new collection Love and Other Collisions. Mills even mentioned that a few of the poems in this collection were originally written as part of a previous April PAD Challenge on this Poetic Asides blog. How cool is that?

Click here to read his interview on the blog.

Here is a poem I really liked from his collection:

On Finding Something to Say After a Reading

She stops me at the door to ask if I have any advice
for a young poet, and, for once, before I say something
flip or trite, I ask, “For you?” She nods, and I realize
she probably has been waiting all night to approach.
I try to think what might be useful, something beyond
the usual–“read,” “write,” “listen.” If she isn’t doing
these, telling her won’t help. What about a koan?
Write what the river says to the trees. Write what
hasn’t been written and must be. But I’m no monk.
I could shrug, insist, “No, I don’t,” but she’s waited
too long now. Then I remember how before a game
my coach would say, “Run your ass off. Ignore
the scoreboard and bleachers. And damnit, have fun.”
It reassured us then. Maybe it’s enough for her now.

Learn more about this title at the Press 53 website:


Sandra Beasley is one of my favorite poets, and Norton recently released her second collection I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize). I remember discovering Beasley’s work while I was in LA for BEA a few years back. I liked the poems I read in Hotel Amerika so much that I read them to my wife Tammy over the phone. Those poems are actually included in this collection.

Here’s the poem that inspired my original interview with Beasley (click here to read the interview):

The Translator

He paid me to carry his words
in my mouth–
to give him the cut of sky,
the color of beef.
To give him please.
To give him thank you.
To give him tea kettle, spider, tango.
I ate at his table.
I moved into his basement.
I made a dictionary of sighs–
when to order takeout,
when to play Stravinsky, when
to tell the woman to take her clothes
and go. Soon he was dying.
I can’t breathe, he said, so I said
I can’t breathe. My heart, he said,
so I said My heart. It was my wrist
the nurse held, my chest
under the stethoscope. I’m sorry,
said the doctor, and my throat
became a coffin
they could not open.

Learn more about this title at the Norton website:


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Click here to learn more about how you might be able to set up an interview on this blog.


Check out this new title from WD: Showing & Telling, by Laurie Alberts. (Click to continue.)


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7 thoughts on “Love & a jukebox: Two recent releases

  1. RJ Clarken

    Thanks, Robert. Now I want to read more of these two poets. And I totally subscribe to Joseph Mills’ coach’s advice – "Run your ass off. Ignore the scoreboard and bleachers. And damnit, have fun." (The best advice there is!) ☺

  2. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Thank you for a glimpse of two poets I didn’t know yet. Mills’ "What To Say" is probably the best advice I’ve ever heard. Poets have told me "write what you know," but half the time what I know or remember is too damned scary to be fun! And I’ve been having fun since joining this group, Robert, largely thanks to you.

    I sat here at my computer and read "The Translator" to myself and wept. So poignant. The rhythm of the words, lyrics to a melody that’s beyond reach.

    I am going to read more of both poets online and hopefully scrounge the money to purchase their work. If not, my library will buy copies of new works when requested, so either way, there’s a sale! Thanks again for the best part of my day so far.

    Lovers who read to one another are the most romantic, I believe.

  3. Ami Mattison

    I’ve been hearing such great things about Beasley’s I Was the Jukebox, but this is the first time I’ve been able to read one of the poems. And it’s an absolutely fabulous poem–amazing from beginning to end–which makes me want to run out and buy this collection. Thanks for sharing!