THE BODY GHOST, BY JOSEPH LEASE
In The Body Ghost, Joseph Lease pares back the flesh of his verse until all that remains are the ethereal and essential bones. This far-ranging collection moves from romance to capitalism, to death and back, and is broken into concrete sections which build rhythmically and thematically until the book’s conclusion. Lease’s mastery of prosody is complicated and improved by his use of white space. His intricate metrical style combines with the visuals of the book to create music that drifts across the page. His frequent repetition lulls the reader into a sort of guided meditation as he explores the emotional nuances of the subjects that he addresses. Despite his ruminations on difficult subjects, on “no future” or “death tangles,” there is still an optimism that shines through his collection. “The world is gone,” Lease writes, “the world is back: / and to / your / scattered / bodies go / bless anyone / bless anyone / all / night / I was / your hair.” Salvation comes, he seems to say, from the small and concentrated moments.
—Review by Jacob Collum