Elizabeth Bishop & The New Yorker

These Fine Mornings

White Summer

Online Work



In White White Summer CoverSummer, Joelle Biele investigates the problems of personal and cultural memory. Rich with images of flight and displacement, Biele’s poems show a love for words, their music and physicality. In lyric addresses, historical meditations, and autobiographical narratives, she takes readers on a journey that includes stops at a dinner party in ancient Rome, a market square in Germany, an Italian feast in the Bronx, and the main concourse of Manhattan’s Grand Central Station. She shows a sharp eye for the telling detail whether she is studying the migrations of birds or sketching portraits of people wishing to escape the confines of their lives. Throughout her first collection, Biele reveals and revels in the power of language to shape and create experience.


"In White Summer, Joelle Biele exhibits a Roethke-like affinity with nature and nature's creatures.  At times a miniaturist, Biele constructs exquisite addresses to a heron, cicada, spider, catalpa tree, mockingbird, snail, cormorant, and others.  These pitch-perfect poems are written with a delicate, meticulous attention to craft and music.  Like the joy she takes in her subjects, this collection is a joy to read."
                     —Elizabeth Spires, author of The Wave-Maker

 “Joelle Biele writes that ‘Some stories will never leave you alone.’ Yet White Summer is blessed rather than obsessed with its stories. The writing itself, for one thing, is so effortlessly achieved, so richly sustained, and so inevitably resolved. Biele fills her poems, she doesn’t burden them, even as she lives in two worlds at once: nature and the present; family and the past—one of which is home, the other exile.”
                     —Stanley Plumly, author of Old Heart  

“The ‘sprung rhythms’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins are ghost-glimmerings that spark White Summer’s finely glossed, soul-breathy, delectably lyrical poems, in which Joelle Biele brilliantly explores the fundamental knowing of the Immanence of Nature, and beyond—a bravo debut.”
                      —Wanda Coleman, author of Mercurochrome: New Poems

"White Summer, the first collection from poet Joelle Biele, is a book full of gorgeous language, delicate yet enduring imagery, and a quiet lyric intensity that is far too rare in contemporary poetry.  No life detail--a fly, a group of starlings, a festival of dolls--escapes Biele's notice, and we are better for having seen the world through her eyes.  Biele's poems, which range from short lyrics to longer meditations, arestartling in their clarity, precise in their diction, and deft in their craft.  There's a fiercely active imagination on display in White Summer, and reader cannot help but surrender to these portraits of abundance and beauty.  This book is alive in the world, not just merely of it.  White Summer is a delicous, inviting book, an exquisite debut for a poet of many gifts: grace and graciousness, art and artistry, song and story."
                    —Allison Jospeh, author of In Every Seam and Soul Train

Listen to an excerpt

3 Poems


"The poems of White Summer combine a field biologist's eye for detail with the melodic sense of Schubert's best lieder." 
                        —Adam Tarleton, Carolina Quarterly

"Whether she is writing an address to a cicada (one of the many creatures capturing the poet's fiercely tuned attention), meditating on clouds as seen through Hopkins' eyes, or revisitng the tangled desires of Italian immigrants in America, the poems of White Summer attend to the world with contemplative force."
                        —Jane Satterfield, Antioch Review

"Biele sees the world as full of images and full of alternative images.  The language is at once sure of itself and slipping out of surety into lushness." 
                        —Anna Leahy, The Journal

To order

Indie Bound
Southern Illinois University Press
Barnes and Noble