Joseph Karasek
        Joseph Karasek grew up in New York and now lives in Pittsburgh, but spends the winter in Southern California. His books, Beyond Waking and Love and the Ten Thousand Things, have recently been published by Tebot Bach.
        Joseph Karasek’s poems are composed in a style that is alternately colloquial and stately but always musical. This is poetry full of arresting observations and deliberately fragmentary streams of consciousness. Simple scenes are loaded with consequence. A poem that begins with a crazy man “hopping about on his one eye” stands next to a poem about a father taking a picture of a nest before he dies. This is poetry that is unpretentious and moving and at the same time shrewd and divinely literary. I love hearing him read. His poems boom with a physical force when he reads them aloud, but they work equally well on the printed page, where they are creatively laid out.  Sometimes, reading his poems, I ask myself, “Did he really say that? I can’t believe he just said that,” but Karasek has gone where we usually only can go in the turmoil of our innermost thoughts and fantasies and recollections and imaginings, the way Galway Kinnell does in his best work. I suggest you buy his books and read them and learn from them.


every so many years somebody’s daddy

gets into his car on a midsummer day and heads west
into the late sun, and beyond to early night

and because the winds have come
he keeps on driving, barely noticing the fallen boughs

and when the mountain road narrows

slams the brakes to a sudden stop
slumps down against the wheel

his wire-haired brows bearing down hard
on his lids

in the blind dull roar watching
the procession

of fathers and of their fathers
as they come to remember

yes of course soon soon he mutters

the beast
rearing up, set loose among crowds

drugged, horns shaved

into a long sleep

only the wild trees
the hollow sound of rain on the roof

a hand a palm

on the other side
spread against the moon

he can’t be far from Denver, maybe

Originally published in Beyond Waking, Tebot Bach, 2009. 

2010 Joseph Karasek
Joseph Karasek was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the March 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series