The Pursuit of Happiness

New and selected Poems from Elizabeth, New Jersey

by Joe Weil

Iniquity Press / Vendetta Books

We thank the editors of the following publications for printing some of the poetry in this collection: Ball Peen, Big Hammer, Big Scream, Palanquin Press, Red Brick Review, Lips, The Black Swan Review, The Paterson Literary Review, New Jersey Bowel & Bladder Control, Bum Rush the Page (Three Rivers Press), Identity Lessons (Penguin Books), Journal of New Jersey Poets, Ode to Elizabeth & Other Poems, In Praise We Enter, A Portable Winter, New Labour Forum.

Other books by Joe Weil: Ode to Elizabeth and Other Poems edited & published by Dwyer Jones, 1995. I’ve Seen the Light. Herschel Silverman’s Beehive Press, 1997. 15 Cinquains for a Rainy Day or Two. Iniquity Press / Vendetta Books, 1998. limited edition of 50 copies. In Praise We Enter. Rain Bucket Press, 1998. A Portable Winter with an introduction by Harvey Pekar. Iniquity Press / Vendetta Books, 1999.

This Book is Dedicated to Maria Mazziotti Gillan who has helped my sorry ass on many an occasion.

If you are interested in buying this book, please click here…

There’s beauty everywhere, we know that. But no one perceives it all. It’s easy to be impressed with towering mountain ranges, but Joe’s knocked out over two old women gabbing over a broken picket fence, or his Uncle Pete not killing a deer after he thought he’d wanted to all his life, or riding home in a Yellow Cab and hanging out in the cool basement with the washing machine rocking on the uneven floor (“a convulsed and bulky tap dancer”) or the Cuban lady “who claims to be a first cousin of Art Linkletter twice removed.”

I like it that Joe’s read a lot, that he’s knowledgeable and not afraid to show it in his work. I like it that he refers to “Amacord” and Braque and Machado and Matthew Arnold and Berlioz and Cuchulainn, and, for that matter, to Roberto Clemente, Thelonious Monk, Dorothy Hamill and Phil Harris. I know who they are, he knows who they are – might as well write about them.

I like Joe’s precision of language, his insights: “I need a place (Elizabeth, New Jersey) where poets aren’t expected / I would go nuts in a town where everyone read Pound…I don’t think Manhattan needs another poet / I don’t think Maine could use me,” and, lower on the page, “Where nothing is sacred, everything is sacred / Where no one writes, the air seems strangely / charged with metaphor.” On the strength of that I recommend his work to you. —Harvey Pekar