poem index


Joseph Massey

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Joseph Massey was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

He is the author of Illocality (Wave Books, 2015) and a trilogy of poetry collections set in Humboldt County, California: To Keep Time (Omnidawn, 2014), At the Point (Shearsman Books, 2011), and Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009).

In the Fall 2006 issue of American Poet, Rae Armantrout writes, “I find it refreshing and somehow also sobering to observe the way Massey sticks so closely to the perceptual world. Like William Carlos Williams, he challenges us to see the value in putting things in words.”

Massey lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.


Illocality (Wave Books, 2015)
To Keep Time (Omnidawn, 2014)
At the Point (Shearsman Books, 2011)
Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009)

by this poet

outside sounds
double the day's

indoor confusion.
How to untwine
noise, to see.

There's the bay,
highway slashed
beneath; water

a weaker shade
of gray than this
momentary sky's

widening bruise.
The page turns
on the table, bare

despite all
I thought was
written there.
after Lorine Niedecker
Beyond a hand
held beyond itself
the mist is too thick to see.
A dream fragment (a phrase
I wanted to remember)
goes mute in this—
extinguished. Call it
consciousness. What
we lose to recover.
Acacia branches bend
the hill's edge
off-orange. A blur,
a deeper

After eight days of rain
what isn’t overwritten
under sun. These

asphalt cracks
pushed further apart.
Eight days without

definition: gray walled
the room in, and I
thought I found a way

to stop thinking—to allow
gray to become a sound
I couldn’t hum myself