These poems aim to think and feel their way through one of the most painful episodes in the history of the local church, the revelations of cover-up surrounding the sexual abuse of children by priests. The poet’s words present one mode of healing in a difficult hour, some nourishment as a community moves forward into a new day.


What they are saying…

“Zach Czaia lays this first collection of poems as one would psalms on the altar of the world. Like a tattoo artist, he etches fine ink cuts onto our thinned skin, leaving memories that cannot be erased. Czaia takes us from classroom to church seamlessly in an American voice, in a Catholic voice, tracking both his personal history and pointing us from what we know to what we sanctify. You will not be disappointed.”

Rose Marie Berger, poetry editor, Sojourners magazine

“Finally! A book of poetry which freely, critically and painfully–yet always with a craftsman’s attention to detail–enacts the Catholic Conscience in our fractured time. Read this book to find its title confirmed in poem after poem.”

Peter Cooley, Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Director of Creative Writing, Tulane University; Poetry Editor, Christianity and Literature, Poet Laureate, Louisiana

“Beautifully made in an impressive wide range of forms, Zach Czaia’s poems deliver the complex thoughtful interior of a young man with tough honesty. Emerging from a deep religious faith, they accomplish the difficult task of not being limited by a specific faith. They speak to everyone who grapples with the joys and hurts, ecstasies and betrayals, to be had living as part of a family, school, romance, church, and city.”

Rosemary Winslow, poet, author of Green Bodies

“In these poems, St. Paul ponders bicycles, the tongue of Blake’s tiger ‘drips oil/ for our benedictions,’ and the ferryman, Charon, reflects on the generations that have passed through his boat. Dante and Beatrice make appearances in a book that celebrates the lush beauty of the Catholic Mass at the same time as it excoriates, as did the prophets, the corruption of religious authorities. You will be blessed tenfold by reading this book.”

Anya Krugovoy Silver, poet, author of I Watched You Disappear and The 93rd Name of God

“Saint Paul Lives Here (In Minnesota) … is timely in its concerns and timeless in its longing for love, for beauty, for forgiveness and, most of all, for grace. The poet says about one of the characters in a poem: ‘That is the way with words for him now,/ they are like that, small means of grace.’ And we, his readers, are able to experience that same grace ourselves thanks to these courageous poems.”

Jim Moore, poet, author of Underground: New & Selected Poems

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