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Exit, pursued by a bear


What an inspired collection! The lines between reality and the stage, between life and art, between past and present—they're all blurred into an exciting whirligig of poetry based on Shakespeare's stage directions. You don't have to be a Shakespeare nut to fall in love with this collection, but these poems are sure to cast a spell that won't be easily broken by man or beast.… a wonderful piece of literature that should be studied along with Shakespeare's plays in English classes around the world

— Robert Lee Brewer, Solving the World’s Problems and editor of Poet’s Market


As a poet, Joseph Mills keeps a close eye on the ordinary, knowing that, at any moment, the extraordinary is bound to flash forth. And it’s that flashing forth that most people miss. Yet when they read about it in deceptively easy-to-understand terms, they immediately recognize a truth, a truth that they missed. But now that they have been awakened to the possibility of spotting it for themselves, they can go out there into their lives and look for it themselves.

— John P. O'Grady, Grave Goods and Pilgrims to the Wild

Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers is a must-have for all wine lovers. No ideology here, just perspective. Mills has a keen sense for why wine is so improbably important to so many of us, and on page after page, the wine lover will say, "Oh yes, that's me."

— Dave McIntyre, Washington Post


A collection of revelations, truths to be found in and about wine. Witty, mordant, melancholy, funny, these bright poems fix and illumine the many moods we may encounter in a bottle of happy red.

— Former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell 

This Miraculous Turning
Winner of the Roaoke-Chowan Award for Poetry

Joseph Mills writes the best kind of poems about family. These are unsentimental, frank pieces that open from the private to the public, reminding us that we are more than parents and children, but are members of a world that we create and inhabit together. Beautifully crafted, sometimes humorous, and often heartbreaking, This Miraculous Turning is a poignant meditation on family, race, religion, and identity in modern America.

— Kelly Davio, author of Burn This House

Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet

I have been reading Joseph Mills’ work for years, but this, his fourth collection, is my favorite. Ultimately, his poems do what poetry should do: simplify the complicated and complicate the seemingly simple. You’ll never think of Rapunzel as a victim again.

— Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade and The Bigness of the World

Love and Other Collisions

Joseph Mills is a poet who understands that Love’s great nemesis isn’t Hate but Time. Time and again, the poems in Love and Other Collisions explore the inherent pain created when Love and Time meet. Love and Other Collisions is at once ambitious, unflinching, and tender—It is definitely a must-read. 

— Shaindel Beers, author of A Brief History of Time

Somewhere During the Spin Cycle 


This is a great poetry of the blues--with their ordinary events and days played against the shock of grace. In Mills' poetry, simple, enormous things (a wife's hand touching the speaker as he sleeps, the torque of memory erupting through scents and voices) all hold a bright real light against the grating presence of death and dissolution. It is purely original, and (like the poet describing memory through a vintage of wine) has notes of Charles Wright and Pablo Neruda in its own particular savor.
- Jan Van Stavern, author of The Long Birth

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