RSS Feed

New Poetry from TJ Beitelman :: AMERICANA

Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely
In TJ Beitelman’s poems, “everything’s a powder / keg,” where everyday occurrences explode into expressions of joy and heartache. Americana begins with an examination of American icons and institutions, then moves out in widening circles to encompass everything from Greek myth to global politics. Here you’ll find strange bedfellows—Bogart and the Big Bang, Hank Aaron and Buddhism, Hezbollah and Frank O’Hara—drawn together by Beitelman’s nimble mind. Full of surprising turns and observations, Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely, author of Beasts of the Hill
Beitelman’s Americana is a funhouse full of mirrors that reveal the comic, the tragic, the beautiful, and the grotesque of commonalities we can’t avoid: pop culture, politics, history. It is a funhouse where “truth and memory are mute” and the connections between, say, “Bela Lugosi and truck tires” are what guide us through spinning tunnels and illusions. And as we exit, it’s difficult to say what is more real: Beitelman’s mad rendering or the world that inspired it.
—Michele Battiste, author of Uprising
The sky opened in the ten minutes it took to fete
Hank Aaron after he hit #715. Hank says time
paused as he was rounding the bases: the college
kids patting him on the back between second

and third might as well have been gnats or rain-
drops…O, the rain! Who was the first to think
the unthinkable?—Wait, if this gets called, do we
go back to 714?
 Tomorrow is another day, indeed.

Hank, the Buddhists say it is raining everywhere.
The greatest Zen masters proclaim their impotence:
I cannot be a good Zen master; I have seen good Zen
masters. As for me, I can’t be a good homerun hitter—

that’s no false modesty. Some things we just can’t
do. But I’ve seen a lot of homeruns, Hank, and now
I suspect each one is nothing special, a single ball
socked into the night. Yes, they can be washed off

the books, even the momentous ones. Nothing
to do but wait and see if what we’ve seen is real.
We sit in our hard bleacher seats, hold the breath
we share. We stare straight up into the spitting sky.
About the Poet
TJ Beitelman is a writer and teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s published a novel, John the Revelator, and two collections of poetry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union and Americana, all from Black Lawrence Press. His stories and poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, and he’s received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. He taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where he earned an M.A. in English, and at the University of Alabama, where he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing and also edited Alabama Heritage and Black Warrior Review. Since 2002, he has taught creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and he’s an Artist in Residence at the Gorham’s Bluff Institute on Sand Mountain in northeast Alabama. He can be found on-line at and at  

About poetreecreations

I am an author writer publisher web administrator I run poetry workshops in the community. My published Manners childrens poetry book can be found at

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: