Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav

It Shouldn't Have Been Beautiful

Best Seller
It Shouldn't Have Been Beautiful by Lia Purpura
Paperback $20.00
Sep 29, 2015 | ISBN 9780143126904

Also available from:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Sep 29, 2015 | ISBN 9780143126904

    Also available from:

  • Sep 29, 2015 | ISBN 9780698183322

    Available from:

Product Details


Praise for It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful:

“In this triking display of minimalist form and content, Purpura employs small and quiet moments to construct a philosophy that embraces the natural world as well as the ambiguities of language and meaning…with an eye for detail and a reverential approach to nature, Purpura deftly distills existential issues to their essence.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Compact, profound, bright, occasionally dangerous, Purpura’s sentences shine like amethyst pendants, snap shut like bear traps, and open up underneath like trap doors.  Her phrases demand to be quoted, and they astonish. IF you compare them to watercolors, they are watercolors of granite, of towns on fire. Purpura’s poems tell truths we did not realize were truths. They instruct by evading, and evade by offering tacit instruction: ‘no hope,’ Purpura jokes, ‘just secret/ negotiations with hope taking place.’”—Stephen Burt
“With a zeal for rarity, great tenderness, and a breathtaking ferocity of attention, Purpura zooms in to scrutinize the bittersweet pivot that takes place in us when the world does not meet our desires. These poems are rooted in wonder, in the wide, dislocating pressures of mystery. Purpura shows how ‘beauty persists,’ and can jolt us, sometimes terribly, out of commonplace states. Everything, she suggests, can be disturbed and sprung loose, even grief.  Ultimately, this is a gorgeous, fire-lit meditation on gratitude:  the way gratitude can flow from not-knowing, the way awareness and its powers are endlessly free.”—Joanna Klink
“Lia Purpura’s brief poems of direct statement seem to be preceded by a long silence in which the irrelevant and superfluous has been stripped away. But if the poems are distillations, their formulations are not presented as polished conclusions but as definitions-in-progress, subject to change in the interest of truth. The honest openness of their process gives them an impressive authority.”—Carl Dennis
“These poems, simple and compact as seeds, yield pleasures as gigantic and wondrous as sunflowers.”—Mary Ruefle

Get the latest updates from Lia Purpura
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top