Books

Forthcoming…


This is the Story of His Life | Black Lawrence Press

In his own Confessions, the prototypical spiritual biography, St. Augustine wrote, “The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.” This is the story of his life— is simply this: one unsettled speaker’s rite of reconciliation, a penance of prayers, a litany of stories, great and small, that might pull a new order out of the chaos of any ordinary, multifaceted, twenty-first-century Self. The aspiration: a new set of psalms in the voice of a ventriloquist, shouting (jaw clenched) into the residual wind God used to exhale the whole world. The realization: one small poem or mantra—recited, re-seen, re-made, over and over and over again—can somehow make this life worth living.

Available now…


Communion  | Black Lawrence Press

“If O’Conner, Mattheissen, Danielewski, and Saunders got together to play Exquisite Corpse, they might produce something akin to Beitelman’s Communion but with the startling control of language of a poet. These twenty paired narrative artifacts are part flash, part poetry, part traditional short story, peeling layers of a world of grace, absurdity, and the long complicated effort to create meaning in the self and in relation to others in our familial and cultural constellations. Time, place, landscapes are all elements, but so, too, are the simple issues of the body, like our need for sustenance: a peeled orange, hand-made crab cakes, blood. Characters consecrate this living, our rituals, liturgies, survivals, re-enactments, and transmute the wounds that make us who we are.”

—Laura McCullough, author of Jersey Mercy


Americana | Black Lawrence Press

“In TJ Beitelman’s poems, ‘everything’s a powder / keg,’ where everyday occurrences explode into expressions of joy and heartache. Americana begins with an examination of American icons and institutions, then moves out in widening circles to encompass everything from Greek myth to global politics. Here you’ll find strange bedfellows—Bogart and the Big Bang, Hank Aaron and Buddhism, Hezbollah and Frank O’Hara—drawn together by Beitelman’s nimble mind. Full of surprising turns and observations, Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.”

—Mark Neely, author of Dirty Bomb


John the Revelator | Black Lawrence Press

“John the Revelator is a romping bildungsroman for the contemporary South: a boy in search of sacred text among archetypes and icons—hustlers, good ole boys, visionary hermits, convenience stores and Yoko Ono, a little Tom Sawyer, a little late Barry Hannah, Oliver Twist via Quentin Tarrantino.”

—Lucy Corin, author of Everyday Psychokillers


In Order to Form a More Perfect Union | Black Lawrence Press

“Jam-packed with the materials of American history and culture, TJ Beitelman’s poems are wonders to behold, set loose and spinning across forms, eras, and landscapes. From hopeful new-dawn visions to dark Jeremiads to softly flowing elegies, they capture voices and ideas from the main stems of American thought, with a smart, questioning energy that’s remarkable to follow. The book ultimately leads to a rocketing road trip into American politics, music, and dreams unlike any other you’ll ever find—hilarious, mysterious, brilliant and absurd in all the right ways, just like the U.S.A.”

—Jim Murphy, author of Heaven Overland


Self-Helpless: A Misfit’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of HappinessOutpost 19

“I thought that if I could put it all down, that would be one way. And next the thought came to me that to leave all out would be another, and truer, way….But, forget as we will, something soon comes to stand in their place. Not the truth, perhaps, but — yourself.”

—John Ashbery, from “The New Spirit” in Three Poems


Pilgrims: A Love Story | Black Lawrence Press

“Jude Law and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ‘dusty and dry and alone,’ ‘their minds a certain kind of wild,’ light out for the territories in a red Edsel, in search of something, but find nothing, and so realize their only recourse is to ‘make a something of a nothing,’ specifically a something which can accommodate Las Vegas, candle tricks, Emily Dickinson, and a ghost town ‘shrine of We-Don’t-Know.’ Beitelman takes us on a pilgrimage both sensual and metaphysical, both comic and tragic, warning us against ‘shimmer, shine, and show’ while delivering us bushels of each.”

—Joel Brouwer, author of And So


Thirteen Curses (and other love poems) | Dream Horse Press

“Incantatory, Beitelman transmutes betrayal’s metals—its angers and devastations, its cries for vengeance and vindication—to a finer, rarer coin, marrying the apothegmatic punch of the curse to the sonnet’s synoptic concern. These are finally indispensible, unspendable reminders of poems’ powers to shape the world around them.”

—Jake Adam York, author of A Murmering of Starlings