The Book of LIFE
by Joseph Campana
July Open 2016 Reading Period Selection
Using the lenses of arts critic and scholar of Renaissance literature, Joseph Campana writes poems inspired by a lifetime of consuming LIFE Magazine, locating an individual life in the churning wake of great events. Here is a poet who persists in the hope of reawakening the past.
Publication Date: March 1, 2019
The Book of LIFE finds inspiration in the pages of LIFE magazine, from its origin in the great depression to its demise amid the Apollo missions, with many milestones between: the Korean War and Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and immolation of Thich Quang Duc, and the Kennedy and King assassinations. LIFE’s compendium of the American century stretches from its initial cover, Margaret Bourke-White’s photo of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, to its final, year-in-review issue covering the lunar mission, with an image of the Earth that awakened a planetary consciousness. Joseph Campana locates an individual life in the churning wake of great events, as a poet persists in the hope of reawakening the past.
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“The faces of Joseph Campana’s beautifully inventive first collection are those that stare most urgently at us while we grow blind: hunger (spiritual and literal), war, peace, fame, hope, fashion, heartlessness, greed. What this one vision does with the idea of the mask . . . is groundbreaking—the face of the maker, the face of the made.” —Jorie Graham
“Joseph Campana’s The Book of Faces is an extraordinary debut . . . not the expected fare but something finer, more provocative, enchanting and rich.” —Alice Fulton
“Campana’s poems haunt, instruct, and console me.”—David Wojahn