Before the Storm Takes It Away

Baking a cake for Armageddon? Choosing the proper superpower? Finding solace in the imposed isolation of a world plague? In Before the Storm Takes It Away, Gaylord Brewer offers the answers. With topics as far-ranging as fondly recalled feasts in Italy to Charlton Heston’s Holy Bible, the pleasures of home birding to cooking with blood, simple bucolic pleasures to the deafening silence of lost friends, tales of beloved dogs to homoeroticism in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, to solar eclipses, gardening, and the rising death toll, Brewer steps away from poetry in these explosive and surprising explorations in brief nonfiction. What begins as a one-year experiment in genre becomes—when March 2020 arrives with its altered world—the author’s pandemic book. And more. From whence that trepidation throughout the winter, so unnerving at the time? Those dark prophecies? First scent of the storm. Nothing ever the same again.


“Before the Storm Takes it Away is a testament to Gaylord Brewer’s ability to perfectly balance sincerity and humor, to find the strangest moments of personal history that somehow feel universal, and to fully consider the way the past and present and future all lay atop each other. There’s a lot here that reminds me of Padgett Powell’s love of formality and weirdness and linguistic flourishes. Brewer is a writer I love, and this unique book feels perfect to me.”
Kevin Wilson

“During the pandemic, poet Gaylord Brewer hunkered down and got to work on short essays, each meticulously distilled, the result a culmination of friendly storytelling. There’s not an unwanted—or misplaced—word here, just care for life, his wife’s love, the occasional jaunts, books and teaching, parents, days of self-doubt followed by self-confidence, fruits and flowers from the garden, and a dog named Lucy at his side. He writes, ‘Let the remaining bees have their fun, too, a tumble in the pollen.’ That’s how I feel about this book. We all deserve a tumble in this golden pollen, then fly off to spread the word.”
Gary Soto

A painting of an overhead view of a street seen through the clouds, with a green box overlaid against the painting, containing the words "Before the Storm Takes It Away, brief nonfiction by Gaylord Brewer"

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: May 14, 2024

Genre/Imprint: Non-Fiction, Red Hen Press

$18.95 Tradepaper

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ISBN: 9781636281360