by John Brehm
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
Cloth: 978-0-299-20200-2 | Paper: 978-0-299-20204-0
Library of Congress Classification PS3602.R444S43 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6


"Fun, wisdom, tasty language. Sea of Faith has real subways in it as well as real rivers, mountains and dogs, scoops of heartbreak, sightings of beauty. Yes, sad or happy, the poems are alive. Sea of Faith was a complete pleasure for me to read." —Alicia Ostriker, author of The Crack in Everything

In a masterful blending of lyric and narrative, Sea of Faith ranges widely across interior states and external worlds. From the Sierra Nevadas to New York City subways, from an imagined friendship with Lao Tzu to a rueful meditation on Coney Island, from a comic and poignant classroom discussion of "Dover Beach" to a sexual fantasy spawned by a tedious poetry reading, John Brehm’s poems explore the human predicament with tenderness, compassion, and unforgettable humor.

"The poems in Sea of Faith present us with a vivid dramatic voice, one determined to engage with a world that often seems intangible and remote, and to resist a world that seems all too real and disappointing. The speaker here is both self-mocking and self-accepting, taking his concerns seriously but always distant enough from them to regard them as a small part of a larger human story, a story we recognize at once to be our own."—Carl Dennis, Brittingham Prize judge and author of Practical Gods

"John Brehm writes on a knife edge. His voice would be ironic if it weren’t for the sustained emotion, the opening to the unknown, the ‘electric calm.’ These elegant poems wear their eloquence lightly; the stakes are high. Sea of Faith is an unforgettable book."—D. Nurkse, author of The Fall

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