Pleasure

(Ahsahta Press, 2010)

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2011 Lambda Literary Award Winner

2011 Northern California Book Award Finalist

2011 PEN/West Award Finalist

2010 National Book Critics Circle Small Press Highlight

2010 Best Poetry Book, San Francisco Chronicle


“In the old myth, Adam named the names in paradise—each word, in its way, created in Eden its own Eden, a word not of essence, but essential, a word as palpable as the body it called to itself, an erotic word because a creative one. But Eden is not easy. To speak of it is to cast ourselves out from it; a word is paradise, at least until our breath runs out. Brian Teare’s Pleasure takes upon itself the important work of remembering that Adam is for us still the erotic source from which words work their awful magic—a magic that can return to life a lover slowly dying, a lover lost to death, the page as the impossible paradise of continued life. The syllable’s moment is a quick life and a carnal knowledge. But Teare sings a song that being sung comes to know itself, a knowledge that casts it out of itself, that understands that in the very midst of its audacious life lurks a darker compensation, the thought of death nearing, and death that nears. I know of no other poet right now returning his readers with such fervent beauty and stark intelligence into the very difficulty of the words in which he writes—these elegiac words that reverse death as a final consequence to life that are themselves mortal. Desolation strikes an abandoned note inside devotion, but does not cancel out the whole. The whole music is an old music, a music Brian Teare still hears, still says is our music, as Eden is but a figure of the day, and these oldest myths are but our daily life when that life by the poet—in difficulty and grace—becomes for us once again naked and exposed.” —Dan Beachy-Quick