poem index

About this poet

Born in 1974, Brian Teare was raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He received a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Alabama and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University in 2000.

His first collection of poetry, The Room Where I Was Born (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), was awarded the Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry.

Since then, he has published Companion Grasses (Omnidawn, 2013); Sight Map (University of California Press, 2009); and Pleasure (Ahsahta Press, 2010); as well as the chapbooks Pilgrim and Transcendental Grammar Crown.

His work has also appeared in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books, 2006); and At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

About Teare, the poet Rachel Zucker has written, "Brian Teare is master poet. He can 'write rain into the picture' and make the written word seem real. . . . He resists the way the lyric attempts to lull us or protect us from pain. In [his] poems language fails. The form, the poem, paper, the lyric—even pain fails. And in this failure I am moved beyond words, through words, and brought back to pleasure, to freedom, to the perfect weather of true grief, to the spectacular disaster that is life."

He is the recipient of a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, and the American Antiquarian Society.

In 2008, Teare founded Albion Books, a one-man micropress specializing in limited edition poetry chapbooks, broadsides and print ephemera.

After teaching in the San Francisco area for a decade, Teare is now an assistant professor at Temple University. He lives in Philadelphia.

Eden Incunabulum

Brian Teare

"As his unlikeness fitted mine"—

so his luciferous kiss, ecliptic : me pinned beneath lips bitten as under weight of prayer, Ave—but no common vocative, no paradise above, and we not beholden to a name, not to a local god banking fever blaze his seasonal malady of flowers—nor to demi-urge nor the lapsarian system’s glittering, how later we spoke between us of sacred and profane as if the numinous could bring death—the only system—to bear burn outside him and hang its glister wisdom and singe in the viridian wilt. Lilt, to break salt in that sugar where skin was no choice and sanguine, not blameless, though, Ave, I loved our words for want beginning liquor, squander sip and fizz : fuck, ferment I loved and bluebottles tippling windfall rot, bruises’ wicked wine gone vinegar beneath the taut brief glaze of wings, but it was not yet nameable, what we later called disease : script brought us by the trick snake’s fakey Beelzebubbery. In the dirt with his dictionary skin, tight skein of syllables knit by un- numbered undulating clicking ribs, the snake slunk and stung and spelled the dust with his tongue and tail and was nothing, a black forked lisp in the subfusc grass hued blue as the blue sky tipped its lip to ocean horizon and filled, hugest amphora, and sank, evening, Ave, I will tell you now I loved it all. That in his hot body there was something similar to the idea of heat which was in my mind, that when we alembic, lay together, we bequeathed the white fixed earth beneath ardent water and a season’s kept blood, and I not a rib of his, not further hurt in his marrow—for the idea of death was in him, the only system—and we lay together in the field that was not yet page, not begun with A—, not alpha nor apple, not Ave, not yet because what we knew was the least of it then. It was difficult to sleep with the love of words gone gospel between my thighs where nightly he’d jack the pulpit, Ave Corpus, Ave Numen, gnosis and throb unalphabetical, I will tell you I loved it all, fastest brushfires and dryburns his body’s doublecross, garden lost to loss, incurable season : wilt, lilt : singe, our song. And the snake, lumen skin of alphabets, rubbing his stomach in the dust until his tin eyes filled with milk, his slack skin flickered and split and new black sinew out of the slough dead lettered vellum legless crept and let fall wept whisper, hiss, paperhush : with the skin language left behind I bind time to memorial : Book of Our Garden Hours, illuminated bloom : Here a gilt script singe sings of heat split in its leaves, and the bee gives suck to the book : Ave Incunabulum, love’s first work : Ave, In Memoriam— [ J—5/99 ]


Incunabulum: a book printed at an early date (esp. before 1501). "as his unlikeness fitted mine"—from Tennyson’s In Memoriam

Copyright © Brian Teare. Used with permission of the author.

Brian Teare

Brian Teare

Born in Alabama in 1974, Brian Teare is the author of The Room Where I Was Born, which was awarded both the Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry

by this poet

poem

so it came to me to 
carry the abandoned 
mattress to the attic      

                         a month dead my father
		         waited hillside in the field 
 			 surrounding his house 

I was glad to see him
to remember when
the fathers seemed 
poem

thought begins as small floral bowls  :  they hold greens—broccoli stalks,


                                                       chopped kale—against Chinese blue


                                                       very dark, with a greenish tint :




the way a

poem
Nothing at dusk, lord, but dust 

                              and road to keep it. The field kneels 

under white pines, umbra the edge 

                              to whom this is addressed : 

a mind part fern, part birch : 

                              two turkeys slowly S-ing their necks 

through