University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

No Day at the Beach

Wisconsin Poetry Series
Ronald Wallace and Sean Bishop, Series Editors

“Evident throughout these irresistible, often self-deprecating poems (‘It’s no day at the beach / being me’) are Brehm’s persuasive wonderings, his engaging explorations, his vital need to know. Open the book anywhere and you won’t want to put it down.”
—Andrea Hollander, author of Blue Mistaken for Sky

With his trademark self-deprecating wit, unflinching honesty, and sparkling language, John Brehm’s latest collection invites readers along on his spiritual journey. No Day at the Beach traces a progression from loneliness and the magnetic pull of the past to the grace that is found in immersion in the present and in the melancholy beauty of impermanence. Informed by Brehm’s Buddhist practices and enlivened by his comic insights, these poems take on a universal dimension, allowing the reader to both luxuriate in the moment and reflect on each poem’s spiritual depth.

By turns playfully philosophical and bracingly open hearted, Brehm’s engagement with the specters of memory, pride, yearning, gain, and loss illuminate the human condition with humor and empathy.

Everything was better back then.
Even my nostalgia was better,
more piercing, more true.
I miss missing things that much,
but not as much as I missed
missing things back then.
—excerpt from “Back Then”


John Brehm. Photo credit, Tracy Pitts John Brehm is the author of Sea of Faith and Help Is on the Way and the editor of The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy. He teaches at the Mountain Writers Series and Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado.




No Day at the Beach navigates a world that is by turns tragic, ironic, absurd, stunning, and unpredictably hilarious. In these wise, uncommonly empathic poems, Brehm proves himself to be a true wit for our time.”
—Fred Muratori, author of A Civilization

“These keen-eyed, often witty poems take a hard look at who we are and what we can do about it. Many of them are directed toward those troublesome shell casings, our bodies. Yet, as the poem ‘Fedora’ says, a beautiful woman may smile at you and your jaunty hat anyway—she needn’t know what a wreck you are. These poems are good for what ails us all.”
—David Kirby, author of More Than This



Download Cover: color | b/w

Download Author Photo: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Desk/Exam Copy


Also by John Brehm


Help Is on the Way


Sea of Faith

No Day at the Beach, collection by John Brehm. Cover image of a turtle flipped onto its back over a flat white background. The title, positioned above the turtle, is written in outlined block text, with a brown outline and a white fill.

Larger images

March 2020
LC: 2019039025 PS
104 pp. 6 x 9

Book icon
Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299326548
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
Review Cart