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Winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize
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Edited by Jon Thompson
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Praise for James Capozzi's Country Album
James Capozzi's Country Album is an important book. The rendering of the poems is flawless, so much so that they have an extraordinary perceptual and tonal range. Country Album is a penetrating and fascinating collection. —Michael Burkard
At one moment, while reading James Capozzi’s manuscript, it occurred to me that he might actually be a Martian who learned to write by studying the incomplete works of John Donne, Raymond Queneau and J. G. Ballard. But that only tells part of the story. He seems to have traveled to different countries—Spain, New Jersey, and Nevada--and recognized that all of them are foreign. Ghosts and ghostly voices rise up from the ground. Without falling into some obvious pattern or strategy, Capozzi puts words together that sound as if they have been connubial all along. The best poems worm their way into the reader’s brain, adding their own wires and synapses. —John Yau
In Capozzi’s Country Album, we have nothing of the simplicity invoked by the pairing of the words: “country album.” It is as if the poet were blessed with a permanent quirk, something “wrong” in his mental structure that allows him to traverse all worlds at once, real and imaginary. What continues to astonish me long after reading this book is the fact that not a single moment in any one poem is predictable. The title poem of the collection is perhaps the only clue to what drives this relentless imagination: “articulate lilac//goat illuminat/ed against night/sky//so lacking spontaneity/it fails//to move us.” To avoid, at all costs, the failure “to move us,” might just be this poet’s credo—how else do we explain such extraordinary links of time and space? —Larissa Szporluk
James Capozzi was born in West Milford, New Jersey. He attended The College of New Jersey and The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a founding editor of Bat City Review and the recipient of a James A. Michener Fellowship. Country Album is the winner of the 2010 New Measure Poetry Prize. He lives in Binghamton, New York, where he is a PhD candidate at Binghamton University.