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Loyola Alum Joseph Capista Holds First Public Reading of “Intrusive Beauty”


“There’s no such thing as a short poetry reading. And so tonight, I’ll read nine poems,” said Joe Capista ‘99. Capista is a current professor in Towson University’s English department and was delighted to hold his first public reading of his new poetry collection at his undergraduate alma mater. His nine poems closed out the “Modern Master Reading Series,” the Writing department’s series where different active writers read their work aloud.

Capista’s book of poems entitled “Intrusive Beauty” was recently selected for Ohio University Press’s 2018 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His personal life inspires much of his writing, including his formative experience as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest member, where he worked in a group home and shelter with young people removed from their homes due to addiction and violence.

Some highlights of the event included the Emily Dickinson-inspired poem, “For Daughter.” Capista noted that this work was based on Dickinson’s poem “Apparently With No Surprise” where she refers to a frosted flower. Before reading, he said, “Once you have children, the world seems like it could never be a safe place again.” He has two daughters of his own who are six and ten. His love and care for his children were very evident in his delivery of the poem.

Capista dedicated “Devotion of Daily Apprehension” to former Loyola professor Dan McGuinness. McGuinness was a Midwesterner, and Capista explained that he was known as a “celebrity on campus,” who could be found under the stairs of Maryland Hall smoking his pipe. One of McGuinness’ favorite quotes he shared with then-student Capista was, “never say that you’ve read a book until you’ve read it twice.” Capista continues to live by this rule today.

Then Capista transitioned into a poem called “Gut Bomb.” During his time volunteering for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, he met Justin, a 16-year-old boy at the time. Justin had been both sexually assaulted and was later charged as a sex offender. Capista would talk with him often, and got to know him well. However, after leaving the group home, Justin, unfortunately, passed away a few years later. “Gut Bomb” serves to memorialize him.

The  variety of material and personal experiences Capista explores in his poetry makes his newly-published “Intrusive Beauty” a must-read.

****More information on Joe Capista and the Modern Masters Reading Series can be found at:

Feature Image: Courtesy of Joe Capista’s website.

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Loyola Alum Joseph Capista Holds First Public Reading of “Intrusive Beauty”