Poetry. Religion & Spirituality. The dictionary definition of "hagiography" is a biography of a saint, but though some saints turn up here, Michael Joyce's A HAGIOGRAPHY OF HEAVEN AND VICINITY is more a travelogue through a unique poetic landscape where the spiritual and secular intertwine, "salvation and damnation mixed," in a heady brew of cultural highbrow and pop, of past and present, the imagined and real. The book both begins and ends with images of "an ordinary place upon this earth," one the "placeless place" of a shopping mall (where Saul of Tarsus contemplates the end of prophesy while eating sesame chicken), the other the author's memories of a street corner in Uppsala, which in its very lack of anything remarkable answers the "silence of god." As this book travels the interpenetration of the sacred and the mundane, it is also a celebration, brilliantly and joyfully done.
Michael Joyce once thought to become a Jesuit and perhaps became one nonetheless (his own father once described himself as "Jesuitical, self-taught"). He is the author of thirteen books spanning a career as a novelist, poet, critic and theorist, digital literature pioneer, and collaborative multimedia artist. His poems have appeared in Agni, Beloit Poetry Journal, FENCE, FOLLY (LA), Gastronomica, The Iowa Review, New Letters, nor/, Notre Dame Review, Parthenon West, Spoon River Review, New Review, OR (Otis Review), TAG Journal, The Common, and THE SHOp (Cork). With Gabriella Frykhamn he has published translations of the Swedish modernist poet Karin Boye in Spoon River Review, Metamorphoses; and Notre Dame Review. Two book-length sequences of poems, PARIS VIEWS (2012), and BIENNIAL: POEMS (2015), were published by BlazeVOX [Books]. He lives along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where he is Professor of English at Vassar College. Author City: NEW HAMBURG, NY USA