What does it mean to dwell in a place? These adventurous poems go on foot in search of answers. Walking the cities, coasts, forests and mountains of Northern California and New England, they immerse themselves in the specifics of bioregion and microclimate, and take special note of the cycle of death and rebirth that plays out dramatically in California’s chaparral and grasslands. Inspired by Transcendentalism, Companion Grasses sees the sacred in the workings of the material world, but its indebtedness to the ecological tradition of California poets like Gary Snyder and Brenda Hillman means that it also unearths such evidence in the sensual materiality of words themselves. Both ecologically rich landscapes and highly rhythmic inscapes, these poems set seasonal and human dramas side-by-side, wresting an original, signature music from the meeting of site and sight. In pursuing an aesthetics situated in place, they compose an ethics of what it means to be a human companion to the natural world: “What we love, how we care for it,/is where we live.”
About the Author
Born in 1974 in Athens, Georgia, BRIAN TEARE grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After first pursuing studies in flute performance and composition, he received a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Alabama and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University in 2000. His highly acclaimed collections of poetry include The Room Where I Was Born (2003), winner of the Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, Sight Map (2009), and Pleasure (2010), winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, most recently Paradise Was Typeset, Helplessness, and Black Sun Crown. From 2000-2002, Teare was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in creative writing at Stanford University and has gone on to receive fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts, and the American Antiquarian Society. Anthologized as a critic as well as a poet, his work has appeared in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn (2009), Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (2011), and Jean Valentine: This-World Company (2012). After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Teare is now an Assistant Professor at Temple University, and lives in Philadelphia, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.
“It offers us multiple points of entry, and each thread informs how we think about others, none offering a key for easily resolving the work . . . A multidimensional view of place for Teare contains not sediment, clay, and stone, but a very human landscape. We get Teare’s toying with the Transcendentalists, we get love poems, we get rural life thrust up against crowded city scenes. Out most refined elements, our most sublime questions are shadowed by our most base and erotic muddling of this false, lingering hierarchy.” —Colorado Review on Sight Map