Reviews

Praise for “The Brother Swimming Beneath Me”

“In the first line of The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, his long-awaited and stunning debut collection, Brent Goodman announces: “There is no afterlife.” But there is: in poem after poem “the eye plays beautiful tricks” with everything it witnesses, and the past is resurrected in mind and heart. For a brother’s early death haunts this book, and radiates out from the dazzling title poem at its center to cast its shadow on everything. Yet the author’s firm craft and uncommonly mature vision transform loss to a complex, buoyant beauty.”

David Graham

“This is utterly coherent, honed, incisive, articulate and often daring work. There’s a full self here, eager to learn and survive, to make sense out of complex longing and grief by intimately evolving with them. Something’s truly at stake, in the shorter opening pieces, the haunting brother narratives with their surging variations which ground the book, and the final expressionist proems which despite their struggle through darkness find immensely energizing and joyous…. This is really extraordinary work.”

Neil Myers

“In these poems of disquiet and brilliant light, Brent Goodman gives us grief and gravel roads, love and not love, work, rage, war. There is pain here, and wiseass joy in these seldom visited places where the heart gives way and it’s the mind furious, honest, playful, intent that knows compassion and reason and giving up reason. From the very first poem – be warned. Surprise lives in this book, fierce verve and tenderness.”

Marianne Boruch

Praise for “Far From Sudden”

“Goodman’s poems are marvelously realized into crisp and compressed lyrics not easily forgotten. I hated to leave a world where a heart resides in a blue aquarium, and black holes and other mysteries of the universe “sip from themselves.” Far From Sudden frequently surprises, even as we are seduced by sights and sounds of the ordinary animated with astonishing and eloquent force.”

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

“These poems are heart-haunted, Cardiac telemetry is the central metaphor for his poetic quest that captures the dance between desire and death, and the eroticism (“I like it/ when our wildest parts are glistening”) is made more urgent because of the awareness of mortality (“Hearses headlights always on”). Between gravity and trajectory, Goodman’s poems are crushingly immediate-as compelling as cave drawings, as awe-inspiring and elegant as star maps.”

Patrick Lawler

“Memory and mortality are disquieting muses in Brent Goodman’s Far From Sudden. The first assaults the mind with the knowledge “every life must move one sullen photograph at a time;” the other dispirits the body with the existential truth: “I am this quiet/passenger in my own vehicle.” But from the poetry of pain and solitude come recovery, gratitude and the blissful state of surrender. Goodman weaves light into darkness gloriously, like prayer into marrow.”

Rigoberto Gonzalez