Joseph Lease's critically acclaimed books of poetry include Testify (Coffee House Press, 2011), Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007), and Human Rights (Talisman House, second edition forthcoming). Lease's poems “'Broken World' (For James Assatly)” and "Send My Roots Rain" have been selected for Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (Second Edition). "'Broken World' (For James Assatly)" was also selected for The Best American Poetry 2002.
Marjorie Perloff wrote: “The poems in Joseph Lease's Broken World are as cool as they are passionate, as soft-spoken as they are indignant, and as fiercely Romantic as they are formally contained. Whether writing an elegy for a friend who died of AIDS or playing complex variations on Rilke's Duino Elegies ('If I cried out, / Who among the angelic orders would / Slap my face, who would steal my / Lunch money'), Lease has complete command of his poetic materials. His poems are spellbinding in their terse and ironic authority: Yes, the reader feels when s/he has finished, this is how it was—and how it is. An exquisite collection!”
Michael Bérubé called "Broken World" “remarkably inventive and evocative work from Joseph Lease, one of the finest poets writing today.” (MDGentleReader)