The University of Wisconsin Press


Help is on the Way
John Brehm

Four Lakes Poetry Series

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Department of English
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor

Garrison Keillor read a poem from Help Is on the Way for the Writer's Almanac on May 31, 2012.

Winner of the 2012 Four Lakes Prize in Poetry

Help Is on the Way takes readers from the subways of New York City to the savannas of Paleolithic Africa to the transplant ward of Kyoto University Hospital. But whatever their setting, these poems are enlivened by the subtle music, penetrating wit, and remarkable emotional honesty that won high praise for John Brehm’s earlier collection, Sea of Faith, and constitute his singularly engaging voice.

“I need to accept you as you are,” she said,
“so you need to become the kind
of person I can accept.” I was
becoming bewildered, but I don’t
think that’s what she meant.
“Life Insurance,” she said. “You
don’t have any Life Insurance.”
“But we’ve only known each other
three months. Aren’t we jumping ahead?”
“Look,” she said, “I don’t want
to have to take my child and move
back to Chicago and live with my mother.
I don’t want to have to take my child
to a public clinic. And I don’t want to
have to ride you and nag you and ask you . . .

—excerpt from:
    “Of Love and Life Insurance: An Argument”
      © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

The Best American Poetry website is also featuring one of John Brehm's poems.

Portrait of author John BrehmJohn Brehm’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, the Missouri Review and many other journals and anthologies. He is author of Sea of Faith, winner of the 2004 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and associate editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. He lived in New York City for many years and now resides in Portland, Oregon

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Of Related Interest:
cover of Sea of Faith has an abstract illustration in blues, greens and purpleSea of Faith

John Brehm

Winner of the 2004 Brittingham Prize in Poetry

"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

Blurred image of a bridge lit up at night

March 2012
LC: 2011041957 PS
80 pp.    6 x 9

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Paper $16.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-28624-8
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"Brehm’s poems are sexy, funny, often brilliantly crafted, and wonderfully sweet at their core."
—David Daniel, Ploughshares

"Reading John Brehm,
it is difficult not to be charmed by his voice and glittering wit... Brehm is the poet-friend you’ve always wanted...a plain-speaking raconteur— delightfully hyperbolic, ironic, and comically self-deprecating."
—Mike Wilmot, Prairie Schooner

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Updated May 25, 2012

© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System