Brendan Walsh (Poetry) | Fort Lauderdale, FL
- the only flesh to feed you (YellowJacket Press, 2018). Poetry.
- Buddha vs. Bonobo (Sutra Press, 2017). Poetry.
Blurbs, Press & Reviews
“These beautiful poems interrogate the central paradox of a life infinitely complex and utterly singular. “There is no single sound” says one poem; this tender, sensual and spiritual collection examines not simply the human condition, but the condition of the whole natural world, in conversation with its history and with its potential futures.”
—Andrew McMillian, Physical, Winner of the Guardian First Book Award
“We don’t think it makes sense. We dream of our cousins in trees…” That’s what Brendan Walsh does in this provocative collection of brief poems. He dreams of bonobos as natural sages—unlike the Buddha, their “legs just fold that way”—who share their wisdom with the ever-restless humans (“our world’s torment”). In the second part of the volume, Walsh’s dreams extend beyond bonobos to people whose uncommon lives lead to alternative takes on fundamental issues: a monk who has seen it all, a cult member (“Consider, though, one stretch … without thought, questions”), ancient wanderers turning experience into myth, a Jain starving himself to death, and more. Welcome surprises, and possible truths, abound. ”
—Tracy Duvall, Bonobo!
“A gorgeous scene of felt experience, of the body’s pulsing, desirous nature, and the world’s abundance. Because bonobos are not weighted by language (“they learn faces, feet, palms, kindness, not names”), they can slip between the moments of the day without fuss, without crossing the arbitrary boundaries that pervade human experience.”
—Joe McCarthy, globalcitizen.org
“In the poetic spirit of Hieronymus Bosch, who paints depictions of the human masses wriggling with the depravity that is the human condition, Brendan Walsh in Buddha vs Bonobo gives us a more serene, more successful “garden of earthly delights.” Here we find kind, gentle creatures—his vision of humanity as, or in contrast to, bonobo chimpanzees—populating the branches of fruit trees, bountiful in their provision. Here we find a life where existence is rooted in the senses—I eat; therefore, I am—I lust; therefore, I am—where the pure of heart win the world, not through civilization or development, but through the simplicity of their days.”
—Lynn Houston, The Mauled Keeper
“In this full-length collection, Brendan Walsh wins us the way Buddhist temples win over acolytes: with their truths about suffering, the community of prayer halls, sacred reliquaries that follow the emptiness of courtyards. This poetry grounded in the experience of place becomes animate, takes form, gathers Laos, Korea, and the U.S. in its hot dance, a globe spinning to the rhythm of the eternal divinity in each of us. The sacred mathematical formulae of Walsh’s poetry are the coordinates of the line between sin and salvation: what he crafts elevates our thoughts because it is deliciously carnal: “Changwon’s lovers are out today,/arm-body enmeshed, lying beneath/cherry trees, pink petals/spread wide and wider with warmer/weather. The earth gushes,/rain-heavy.” By taking us on the road with him, we learn that the body that travels is the body that finds its home in the world. In ‘Go,’ Walsh teaches us not to be afraid of change, or of being alone; he makes it possible for us to pick up and start over again, every chance a fresh chance, like a new life waiting to be lived.”
—Lynn Marie Houston, author of The Clever Dream of Man
“Storing and releasing all kinds of humanity, both the pleasant and the difficult in properly apportioned measures, the following sums up the pathos Walsh continuously feels through these explorations of heart and hurt: “Describe yourself: broken. Describe / the world: breaking. Nothing is everything, / so this must be.” This is a rare collection whose end I hoped to delay, and whose re-beginning I cannot resist.”
—Michael Prihoda, After the Pause Journal
“The proem’s last line—“I say Go.”—frees the poet from the scripted life-as-movie to life on the go. Through many journeys, through lands exotic and familiar, bars and boudoirs, rituals of sustenance and sacrament, cities and rice paddies and mountains and monasteries and airports and shacks that ‘Go’ traverses, many lives pass through Brendan Walsh’s poems, and through them, speak. Uncanny, Walsh’s ability to host his Laotian and Korean and American selves—see the Eun-Yung and Mr. Shin poems especially—through the correspondences of art that let him say, “I can’t/say you are part of me more than any bird or plane/is part sky.” Reader, don’t take my word; take the book. I say Go.”
—Robert Bensen, author of Orenoque, Wetumka, and Other Poems
“Brendan Walsh’s ‘Go’ is a playful collection of poems. It takes on, on many levels, the play of imagination and the play of possibility, and it explores the ways each enlarges and is enlarged by the other. The world in ‘Go’ is itself large and enlarged. In the heat of Laos, “we melt / into other forms. / First we are sweat, then hot nights, / next, the air itself.” In Korea, when the cherry trees blossom, “April comes quickly / without shame, and envelops. / We forgot winter/ like a past lover who once / formed the only shape / our words could make.” And back in the United States, flying down the interstate on a drive-all-night roadtrip, our world traveler considers how any drive may continue into “All that untouchable horizon. / Nothing to grasp but what passes us by.” ‘Go’ is an energetic and wise first collection, and its travels continue well past the final page. ”
—Jeffrey Mock, author of Ruthless
Brendan Walsh’s the only flesh to feed you succeeds in changing our perspective. Whether it’s towering over the crushed clay of the savannah as an elephant or buzzing around a soiled diaper as a housefly, the poems in this short collection show us that love exists for everyone and everything – everywhere. Walsh uses his eye for compelling imagery and for what lies beneath the fur and scales we often minimalize to uncover the poetry in the National Geographic. It’s hard not to feel kinship with the animal kingdom when a reptile cuts straight to the heart of longing in saying simply: “he bobbed his head my way / tasted the air between us / tasted the thing missing in me / that I know now / was him.” It’s a primal longing in animals us humans already recognize or can only hope to know.
—David Walker, founder of Golden Walkman Magazine