The Black Beach
6 x 9, 64 pp.
Pub Date: 04/19/2005
Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry
Price:        $12.95


Published by University of North Texas Press

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Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, 2004

The Black Beach

By J. T. Barbarese

Winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, 2004.

The poems of The Black Beach describe everyday acts like putting children to bed, coaching Little League, and sending a daughter to school, but brood over what may be behind the everyday and how to reach it and talk to it. Faith ebbs and flows like the tide on a “black beach of heaven,” while these poems maintain skepticism, denying transcendence beyond what is available through love, the senses, and experience. Number Twelve: Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry

J. T. Barbarese has been widely published in journals and magazines as varied as and The New York Times. He is the author of two books of poems in the University of Georgia Press’s Contemporary Poets Series, and the translator of Euripides’s Children of Herakles for the University of Pennsylvania Press. His degrees are from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Temple University. He teaches at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in Philadelphia.

What Readers Are Saying:

The Black Beach constantly delights with its questing, surprising, and not-easily-satisfied imagination. But simultaneously it creates an exacting and exhilarating vision of ‘God, the undoer that does.’ The speaker who, in one poem, stands in the moment ‘loving/what is not,’ is the same one who, in another poem, imagines ‘the black beach of heaven where all desire/ is merged, twinned, recovered, braided, and set ablaze.’” --Andrew Hudgins, Judge

“A dark brilliance shines in these honed, memorable poems of the human predicament: that of a sentient particle with a mind for the infinite. ‘Looking for meaning/ the way radio waves sought Marconi,’ Barbarese’s restless imagination searches through the stations of the daily to the ‘very end of the dial/ the static that never signs off,’ and turns back to receive what we have, the ‘lonely surprised heart/ shaken. . .’” --Eleanor Wilner, author of The Girl with Bees in Her Hair

“Barbarese has an uncanny ability to size up the urban scene, then hallow and harrow it. Putting his daughter on the local train for the city, he conjures up those who rode in the boxcars to the ovens. And, leaning over ‘winged rot . . . glued . . . to shat-on grass’ in a nearby park, he can think ‘how beautiful,/ the hard frost had cemented/ what had lived to what never did.’ He wins me over in poem after poem.” --Maxine Kumin, author of The Long Marriage


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