Joseph’s Book Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Professor Lawrence Joseph’s forthcoming book, A Certain Clarity: Selected Poems, has been named by Lit Hub as one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2020:

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In a year full of handy new selections and long overdue returns, the poetic event of 2020 ought to be the publication of Lawrence Joseph’s A Certain Clarity. Raised the son of a Lebanese-American grocer in Detroit, he grew up in that city’s riots, then studied English Literature at Cambridge and law at Michigan. Moved to New York at the height of the 1980s wealth creation. Walking the city’s streets, he has been a Virgil in our psychotically greedy times. He hears and sees New York City with a gumshoe’s love and an outsider’s ear for pain. Reading through these poems, which date back to the 1970s, it’s clear Joseph was a moralist before it was fashionable, deeply tuned to justice because he had lived through its opposite. As an Arab-American, he has watched as one after another U.S. government propped up, patronized, and undercut regimes throughout the Middle East. The range of his voice is simply awesome. He can speak low, and with a painterly attention to light; he sings love songs of marriage and the solitude of two; and when he’s angry, he can weave a seething prosody that’d make Blake wonder if the angels he saw were demons. In our sinister times, nothing coming out this year, from America or elsewhere, will make such good companion reading to those wondering if the world really is on fire. Would that our times were not catching up so bleakly with Joseph’s clear vision.”—John Freeman, Lit Hub Executive Editor 

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