BOOKS

This is the Story of His Life | Black Lawrence Press

In his 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 a rite of reconciliation, a penance of prayers, a litany of stories, great and small, that offers the promise of pulling a new order out of the chaos of an 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 tentative realization: one small poem or mantra — recited, re-seen, re-made, over and over and over again — can make this life worth living.


Communion  | Black Lawrence Press

“I don’t know that I’ve read a stranger, more unsettling book than TJ Beitelman’s Communion. And I mean that in the best way possible. At times Beitelman’s stories remind me of those of Raymond Carver, the characters here so often so far away from one another. Yet turn the page, and Beitelman pulls off a kind of lyrical magic, and I am reminded of the lush, surreal poems of W.S. Merwin. From the first cold bite of an orange to the final communion of blood and crab cake, these stories linger in the mouth, stay with you long after you finish.”

—Joe Wilkins, author of When We Were Birds


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 Happiness  | Outpost 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