Joseph A. Pinto

barflypoet & author of dark fiction

(all reviews shared verbatim from their respective sources)


reviews for A Distilled Spirit

5 out of 5 stars from blood_of_winter, July 12, 2021 via Amazon – Poignant Reflections

A lot of people hear the word “poetry” and think back to high school or college and those forced essays you needed to write on meaning or theme or meter. A shame really since poetry is so much more than that. It makes you feel in a way that prose sometimes can’t. The rhythm, the cadence, the turns of phrase. All these merge in poetry to say something unique. Joseph Pinto’s collection of poems is the kind of poetry book you want to give to all your friends, especially the ones who have deeply felt loss, longing, isolation. Joseph’s collection, written during the height (let’s hope we are over that hump!) of the Covid-19 pandemic is heart-breaking and breath-taking in its directness and raw emotion. Some of the pieces reminded me of The Doors’ Jim Morrison’s better poetry and lyrics (and Morrison was a lyric master). I didn’t feel like a school kid out of my league reading poetry I didn’t understand. It felt like someone understood me and put to words those frustrations and life’s disappointments that come your way as middle age creeps in and the world is on fire. Beautiful, poignant, and soul stirring.

5 out of 5 stars from AK_fish, May 6, 2021 via Amazon – Excellent Observations on the Lonely Side of Humanity 

I read this book on my kindle. This is an unsolicited review.

A Distilled Spirit is the debut poetry collection from author Joseph Pinto, the bar fly poet. I loved his dedication: “for you: the wayward, the broken, the pained, the lost, the grieving, the unloved, the lonely, the blackened, the muted, the different, the observant, the rare.” A fitting beginning to observation and rumination he made while sitting in bars, drinking the evenings away. The book is broken up into sections, beginning in the early evening at 7pm and making its way to last call. Pinto sums up humanity, in particular the lost, dark, and sad sides of it, as if watching from the corner, patrons coming and going, sipping scotch and jotting notes or sketches throughout the evening.

There were times I could hear the rise and fall of voices, laughter, muted conversation, bottles clinking, money slapped on the bar, music waxing and waning and a never empty glass. As such, I did not read this in one sitting. Sometimes I read a few pieces, or a whole section, but I felt the need to sober up here and there. The pain, the loneliness, the longing, the spite, the dread, he covers it all. I loved it. I grimaced. I held my heart.

I liked the simple cover and the layout worked great for me. Nice length with just over 160 poems included, not too short or too long for my tastes. I wished, at times, for a break in the darkness, but felt it would have been out of place, had it been included. When I needed a break I took one and came back refreshed and thirsty for more. 

5 out of 5 stars from Zachary S., September 19, 2020 via Amazon – Great debut of work!

An incredible debut of work! Very heartfelt and deep. It will make you want to pour a drink along with him and feel as deeply as he has. Can’t wait for the next book!

from K.J. Simmill’ book review, July 29, 2020 ( found at: )

Joseph Pinto’s A Distilled Spirit: pained prose from a bar focuses on the author’s observations, musings, and discoveries from his everyday life put to pen to reach an audience who will want to engage, understand, and embrace the words within. There are many poems of altering lengths, styles, and musings which ensure there will be something to everyone. But don’t expect rainbows and happiness, these poems speak of pain, anger, and the darker sides of the human emotional scale.

Joseph Pinto’s A Distilled Spirit: pained prose from a bar is a collection of dark and brooding poetry that conjures images of pain, despair, hatred, and impatience, a lot of things that can be associated with late-night drinking.  I am not normally one to read poetry but I picked this up on a friend’s recommendation and found the content certainly stirred something within me. These poems give insight into a delicate psyche as thoughts, conversations, and observations are brought to the forefront and twisted to the author’s own interpretations. Written in different styles with individual topics and focuses there will be something everyone can relate to, whether it is snap judgements made through observation, frustrations, or desperately seeking solitude amidst interruptions. There is a raw, unfiltered honesty to these poems that show the worst of people and harsh truths unleashed by human’s darker aspects and captured by a poison pen that encourages the reader to dare to look into their own soul with such brutal honesty. Definitely, a darker read filled with pain, torment, hatred, and anger, but there is a softer side too, something almost hopeful in places.

5 out of 5 stars from Ryan Kennedy, May 25, 2020 via Amazon –  Perfect Meditations 

This is a beautiful collection and even the shortest of pieces offers a pause for thought and a mediation on what makes people tick. Recommended.

5 out of 5 stars from Jennifer McGeehan, May 20, 2019 via Amazon – In the mind of an observer

Each poem that this author wrote goves you a sensible thought process we go through when we observe the world around us. A distilled spirit hits the mark on people watching with finesse and insight.

5 out of 5 stars from Sabina Gabrielli Carrara, December 28, 2018 (paperback edition) via Amazon – A mirror for whoever wants to look into their pain

A collection of everyday pain everybody can rely on and masterly penned in verses .
You don’t need to love poetry to love what is in these pages.
A journey inside the lost soul but also inside the one of the reader.

4 stars out of 5 stars from Christina Strigas, September 22, 2018 (paperback edition) via Amazon – Great Poetry Book

This is a great book to read if you love poems that punch you in the guts. There are some micro poems and longer pieces. In a modern style, the poems are refreshing and dark. Joseph Pinto writes about heartache and breaking up with a lover; he expresses his feelings with compassion, pain, and anger. I read this on my kindle and took my time with it. I read it slowly and over a long period of time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys love poetry with a dark edge. For a debut poetry collection from a horror writer, I would say this is a great poetry book with a modern verse.

5 stars out of 5 stars from Sheri, July 26, 2018 (paperback edition) via Amazon –  Shadows

I found a sense of peace and connection to my own pain, reading the eloquent words Joseph Pinto has put together in this collection. When one is lost in the pains of life, there are different roads we can travel. Is it where one wants to be?…Do we need to continue in the pain?…can we rise above it and conquer it?…these words make you dig deeper into the shadows of our own minds, hearts, and souls. Thank you, Joseph, for provoking me to think!…

5 stars out of 5 stars from Pearl’s Book Reviews, June 29, 2018 (Kindle edition) via Amazon – Great reading! Definitely different and memorable

If you had asked me if I liked poetry, I would have told you no. I think those feeling stem from school classes and structure.
This was so much different and much more interesting!
These will stick with me.

5 stars out of 5 stars from Unlimited Book Reviews, Canada, June 29, 2019 via Amazon – Profound and entertaining!

Our author says these are conversations that he heard both inside and outside of his head.
They are really encapsulations of regret and regression, death and demise as he states in his description.
I found them enlightening and poignant, heartfelt and sometimes sad.
But definitely entertaining which is what all great books are about!

5 stars out of 5 stars from GwynBRoss, June 10, 2018 (paperback edition) via Amazon – The only thing missing is I’m not on the other…

The only thing missing is I’m not on the other side of the room watching him do his thing. A Distilled Spirit is a gathering of responses of one man ever in his own skin and trying to prove he wants to know what that means albeit vicarious as an intention. These poems are real life in a watch from the other side of the room and learn something about humankind kind of way. Raw. Truthful. Unapologetic but with such a touch of gentleness it’s hard to imagine how he is able to achieve such a balance, such exquisite insight just by showing up and being alive in a place. How does he do it? I’m at the point where I need to rip out all the pages and paste them to my walls. Only so many earmarks can have a job in one book. I will never stop picking it up.

5 stars out of 5 from Diana Matisz, May 24, 2018 (Kindle edition) via Amazon – The reining in of emotion is not his style…

Have you ever found yourself sitting quietly somewhere and suddenly overhearing a private conversation? You don’t want to listen but the story is becoming so engaging that you can’t help but to become a willing, although distant, participant. This is “a distilled spirit”. The writing is raw and brutally honest. It also showcases the author’s vulnerabilities and flaws, his hopes, his anger, and his love. The reining in of emotion is not his style. But he does have a soft side, where his vulnerability shines, and those poems are my favorites. Read and enjoy this guilty little pleasure.

5 stars out of 5 from Kat, May 4, 2018 (paperback edition) via Amazon – “i don’t write like you do”

“i don’t write like you do” This line from “stripping down” says it all. This collection is like none I have read. It is visceral. Brutal in its honesty, with a dash of wit and tenderness. He can both eviscerate and soothe in one fell swoop, leaving you wanting more.

4 stars out of 5 from David S., April 11, 2018 (Kindle edition) via Amazon – It’s a form of writing I enjoy once in awhile

Occasionally I take a step away from my usual genres, because who doesn’t need a break from time to time. This time I took a break and read some poetry, yes you heard me correctly. It’s a form of writing I enjoy once in a while. When I get a chance to read a writer I’ve enjoyed before, I like to see what the author has to share. As with most poems I’ve read, they come from a deep and personal place in the writer’s heart. When I read the back of A Distilled Spirit, and it said “..conversations heard inside and outside my head”. I could get behind that, I’ve had many in my head that I wish I didn’t. It’s not always a good place to hang out. In A Distilled Spirit, Joseph Pinto pulls the curtain back and shows us his dark corners and hidden thoughts, or those conversations bouncing around in his head. Thoughts of disgust at the world, and how communication has broken down. If you take a moment to think and reflect on the words chosen, you will hear the message. Sadness about communication, lies, pain, and sometimes a few too many drinks. The following poems cut me deeply, ‘hand poised on knob’, which is nothing short of brutal. ‘high time’, and yes Joseph, I fully agree, and ‘down the drain’… ouch, that is sad and painful. I don’t claim to be an expert on poetry and many were beyond my understanding. Sometimes the subjects are too personal for anyone other than the author to understand. I strongly feel that if you have ever enjoyed poetry that makes you pause and think, plus cause emotions to come straight to the surface, then you will enjoy what Joseph Pinto is throwing down in A Distilled Spirit.

5 stars from Jenngwynn, April 5, 2018 (paperback format) via Amazon – Poignant….this will get you in the guts

Couldn’t put it down. Read and read again, I found too many favorites to choose one. Deliciously heart-wrenching.

5 stars from Angie, February 26, 2018 (paperback format) via Amazon – I LOVE this book

Bravo! I devoured this book. “keep it yourself” is one of my favorites. Each poem has its own feeling for me, I savor each one. I LOVE this book!

5 stars from an Amazon customer February 18, 2018 (paperback format) So honest, real and fun!

Such a fantastic, honest, fun book! Found so many favorite poems! It’s an easy read because he writes in such an open, honest way. Highly recommend, but you will defiantly need time to sit and read it all, because you won’t want to put it down!



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