On Monday April 15, Loyola Alum Joseph J. Capista returned to campus to read a selection of poems from his award-winning debut collection, Intrusive Beauty, in the Writing Department’s Modern Masters Reading Series. Capista read poems concerning fatherhood, his experience working in a shelter serving adjudicated youth, and his work as a teacher—poems punctured by awe and recognition of the sometimes-brutal mysteries submerged in daily existence.
The poet Rodney Jones has referred to Capista’s poems as “vital articulations of wonder.” They render small moments of astonishment, voicing shock at the intensity of beauty’s intrusions on the everyday. In them the world surrenders up its measureless potential for curiosity, its shifting boundaries of knowability, endlessly mesmeric for those with eyes to see, a pen to transcribe.
Capista graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 1999. Students who attended his reading recognized that the accomplished poet standing behind the podium was once sitting exactly where they were, in the audience of McManus Theater, listening to writers read their work, and imagining the possible shapes his own life in writing might take.
Intrusive Beauty is the winner of Ohio University Press’s 2018 Hollis Summers Prize, selected by Beth Ann Fennelly. Capista has received awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and his poetry can be found in AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, and Slate. He teaches writing at Towson University.