NC Literary Hall of Fame












This Miraculous Turning by Joseph Mills

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1941209097
September, 2014
Available from the publisher or

"This Miraculous Turning is a book that turns from nothing—the daily, the domestic, the little epiphanies. These poems are conversational, profound, narrative, and leavened with inimitable humor, often wry, often wistful. But these are also tough poems, thrumming with a quintessential helplessness that is so quintessentially human—what ultimately leads us to poetry to obtain 'news that stays news,' but to also restore our faith in the small things as the source of wholeness. You’ll go back again and again to this wonderful book, and you’ll tell others to get their hands on it. The poems become truer, more indispensable, with each reading."
—Joseph Bathanti, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina, author of Concertina

"Disturbingly brilliant, breaking boundaries with shocking immediacy, This Miraculous Turning lays bare a trail of poems that navigate extreme terrain. These poems sear, disfigure, dismantle and reconstruct the truths of a history that informs otherness and taboos. Joseph Mills offers lyrical beauty inside a turbulent storm of history, memory, and hope that dances the bones of the nameless child free and gives flesh to the spirits in an explicit celebration of love and grace."
—Jaki Shelton Green, author of Breath of a Song: New and Selected Poems

"In general, poets are not saints, yet in his quiet but unapologetic intelligence, his passion, humility, and wisdom, and his understanding of good and evil, Joseph Mills gives us poems that could change the world. Deeply affecting, these poems show us how to live with one another. 'I'm searching,' he says, 'for the right forms for these poems, ones as simple and solid as wooden bowls.' Everything here is true: measured, faultless. You do not want to miss this book. This Miraculous Turning is a bona fide miracle."
—Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia and author of The Life and Death of Poetry: Poems

"In these poems, Joseph Mills portrays a world that is both startling and heart-deep familiar. His words simultaneously inflict wonderment and consternation, revealing both how beautiful and how wanting this human life can be. I was sad to come to the end, but eager to begin again, to relive Mills' precise rendering of the lessons of parenthood and the particular joy and ache of living in a diverse world where so much comes down not to understanding one another, but in trying to do so. Throughout these poems, it is the heart that rings clear through soft, purple-skied spring evenings, poignant and funny car-trip conversations, and sun-drenched afternoons in cemeteries and battlefields."
—Susan Woodring, author of Goliath

"Joseph Mills writes the best kind of poems about family. These are unsentimental, frank pieces that open from the private to the public, reminding us that we are more than parents and children, but are members of a world that we create and inhabit together. Beautifully crafted, sometimes humorous, and often heartbreaking, This Miraculous Turning is a poignant meditation on family, race, religion, and identity in modern America."
—Kelly Davio, author of Burn This House

Joseph Mills grew up in Indiana, and, in the first thirty years of his life, he kept moving farther and farther West, earning literature degrees at the University of Chicago, University of New Mexico, and the University of California, Davis. He spent a year in Bordeaux where he met his wife, and, after living for a couple years in the San Francisco Bay area, they moved to North Carolina. Joe teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. In addition to his five poetry collections, he is the co-author (with wife Daniele Tarmey) of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries. He also edited A Century of the Marx Brothers. Website:

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