Sea of Faith by John Brehm

Issue #98
Winter 2005-06

Sea of Faith, poems by John Brehm (Wisconsin): Very few poets seem able to land all grown-up on the pages of their first books—often they are tentative, anonymous—but John Brehm arrives with a great chorus trailing, and he does so without apology, which is a delight because he’s a very interesting man, it seems, one who is willing, with grace and integrity, to engage the world with a fully formed point of view. The title poem, which hilariously chronicles an attempt to teach "Dover Beach," responds to a student who asks if the "Sea of Faith" is a real sea: " ‘Yes,’ I wanted to say, ‘it is. / It is a real sea. In fact it flows / right into the Sea of Ignorance / IN WHICH YOU ARE DROWNING.’" Brehm’s poems are sexy, funny, often brilliantly crafted, and wonderfully sweet at their core. This is one of those rare books one can confidently recommend to any friend, even those whose hearts are hardened to poetry. —David Daniel