Brian Teare

A former NEA Fellow, Brian Teare is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the American Antiquarian Society. He is the author of four books—The Room Where I Was Born, Sight Map, the Lambda-Award-winning Pleasure, and Companion Grasses, just out from Omnidawn. He’s also the author of seven chapbooks, most recently Helplessness, [ black sun crown ], and SORE EROS. An Assistant Professor at Temple University, he lives in Philadelphia, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books. He maintains a web presence at

watercolor and graphite on paper, fifteen by fifteen inches

               ::              I had a headache a sort of tea-colored leakage a color field ::

               ::              the texture of paper bag and over it a grid in graphite fitted ::

               ::              to a grid of white pencil an almost subliminal flickering ::

               ::              where my body first entered the picture the inscription ::

               ::              of conflicting readings the work’s surface touched by ::

               ::              the brush all pooled color and puckered grain a form ::

               ::              narrowed down to its final iteration internally organized ::

               ::              and complete because of its tensions I was speaking ::

               ::              of illness and the critical situation it reveals as our own ::

               ::              embodied gaze the loom upon which materiality turns ::

               ::              pictorial its likeness to fabric heightened by fibers swollen ::

               ::              torqued by tint caught in its operations I insert a knot ::

               ::              between the warp and weft of the observed surface I look ::

               ::              away from the abstract toward the window toward the door ::

                                                                                                    for Martha Ronk

There are an infinite number of different kinds of happiness.

the grain of the page softened

by cotton     the hand-drawn
line like the poetic line implies

a law of perspective     a body


a strangely spacious framework

in which to consider the mortal



dim daylight


higher up

shading off

into fog
walking to the hospital

I stop to watch sunrise

fat finches sit by the ER

in stripped twigwork

late hawthorn berries

frayed red gray feathers

                                                                                                    for Stephen Motika

And to think I am small and the work is small.

     ( sonnet )


consciousness is spatial
                         / a really empty painting

white hospital bed
                         / before I get into it

thought takes shape
                         / where is this headed

sheet blanket sheet
                         / intravenous shiver

the picture fills up
                         / dressed for a visit

soft graphite lines
                         / a gown worn backwards

soft graphite lines
                         / a gown worn forwards


                                                                                                    for Lisa Russ Spaar

Like a dignified journey with no trouble and no goal on and on.

dismiss the guardians of the body

how can I own something I am?

iron boat upon the water

the impossible serves as a lamp

our looking is what we see

its tension its signature