Gaylord Brewer

Gaylord Brewer is the author of fifteen previous books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and cookery, including Country of Ghost (Red Hen, 2015) and The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire (Stephen F. Austin, 2015). His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. His many international residencies include Hawthornden Castle (Scotland) and the Global Arts Village (India), and he has taught in Russia, Kenya, England, and the Czech Republic. Brewer was awarded a Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship in 2009. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, and has been a professor at Middle Tennessee State University since 1993.

All Books

Worship the Pig

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: June 16, 2020

$17.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-852-6


Worship the Pig, Gaylord Brewer’s eleventh collection, is by the poet’s own definition, his “Americas book.” The migration begins from his Tennessee home to the Inside Passage of Alaska, then detours sharply south in a return to his beloved Costa Rica, then onward finally to the qualified paradise of Brazil’s Ilhabela. Brewer’s persistent obsessions—translating the call and challenge of the feral world, negotiating some truce with private ghosts—have never been more poignantly and sharply drawn. From chiseled lyrics to more expansive narratives—by turns reserved and raucous, always heartfelt and riveting—these new poems exhilarate. “No schematic for conquest, / no reckless conclusions, // no tenuous argument for connection / beyond the simple truth / of what accrues together.” At mid-career, the author called “the most natural poet in the country” by the Asheville Poetry Review continues to astonish.


“Brewer’s a wonderful writer. I love his language. His eye. His attitude. His love for the world. And his poems do what they are meant to—they tell us to pause, to wake up, to see, to not squander the immensity and beauty and pain of our lives. We have to see it all, feel it all, he’s telling us, exhorting us, this heartbroken guide, this wise, sad, and funny poet.”—Jonathan Ames

“Gaylord Brewer is the most natural poet in the country.”—Asheville Poetry Review

Country of Ghost

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: March 24, 2015

$18.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-313-2


Gaylord Brewer’s ninth collection of poetry, Country of Ghost, is by turns harrowing, haunted, and darkly humorous, and always deeply felt. When the figure Ghost appears ‘crossing a bridge in Spain, beside a river of the dead in France, across a midnight lake in Finland’ our speaker follows into a ravenous geography of longing and regret. In this astounding sequence of poems, who has summonsed whom? Brewer’s folie à deux explores both the worlds of the living and of the dead, worlds alternately aching and tender, and of the spirits caught between them.

Praise for Country of Ghost:

“Brewer writes as if a sly old god, wounded, lost and yet to renounce his magic. Ghost is a tour de force, part Caliban, part Ariel. Revenant, bored, hungry and amazed, Ghost will be with us ever hereafter.”—Robert Olmstead

“In this work of haunting, the possibilities for fruitful speculation and reflection are great. Gaylord Brewer’s poems in Country of Ghost are, at once, whimsical and deeply affecting in their pathos. The many ghosts that inhabit these poems contend with the conundrum of regret, and desire. It takes precise, well-modulated poetry that is alive with metaphor, wicked puns, image, and acutely observed detail to achieve what Brewer does in Country of Ghost.”—Kwame Dawes

“The world of feeling that Brewer so urgently describes is complicated and dynamic.”—Asheville Poetry Review

“The poems are eerie, achingly honest, conversational, and beautifully, darkly funny. Even if we are tempted to turn away from the rotting, breaking, bruised, and bleeding body, we are drawn in by the human need, the fragility, the nostalgia, the bittersweet longing of the speaker and his Ghost.”—Prick of the Spindle

“Brewer manages to masterfully balance the ordinary and extraordinary. The consequent contrasts and juxtapositions elevate both conditions of ‘ordinariness’ into a kind of equilibrium of the sublime. A trademark Brewer poem: craft, precision, self-analysis, humor, endurance, and a razor-sharp epiphany.”—The Evansville Review

Give Over, Graymalkin

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: February 1, 2011

$19.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-493-1


From python hunting to Swami Keerti’s laughing meditation, from a death in the family to a burial on the rural acres where he’s stood his ground for a decade, Gaylord Brewer extends and explodes his career-long obsessions in Give Over, Graymalkin. This 8th collection of poems is a journal of loss and recovery, departure and surprising return, fleeting hours in a world diminished yet wondrous. Seas writhe with uncharted beasts. Horsemen gather, conflagrant beneath sword and cross. A daughter mounts a bicycle and a divorcé has the Harley delivered. From India to France to Spain, to the birdsong and day lilies of his unruly garden, Brewer continues as poetic conquistador mapping our longing, melancholy, and joy. With his characteristic wit and compassion, signature sculpted lines, and incantatory vigor, buried metaphors arise, holy days pass, toasts are raised, suns set over the desert of the animate dead. And the weary traveler? He approaches a dark corridor that may or may not be the way home.

Octavius the 1st

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: July 1, 2008

$17.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-082-7


Admirers of Gaylord Brewer’s dark and lyrical poetry will be delightfully stunned by this frantic detour into fiction, Octavius the 1st. Against a backdrop of dog walking and the bloated throat sac of the male siamang gibbon, through a gauntlet of good ole home cookin’ and the beatific lunch specials of the deli Cheeses Christ, to a soundtrack of soap operas and his own labored breathing, our protagonist, Octavius Trotter—lonely, hungry emperor of his mind—gambles the world’s meagre wages of love and longing. Jonathan Livingston Seagull meets The Bridges of Madison County. A dollop of John Kennedy Toole, a swizzle of Kingsley Amis, a sprinkle of Joyce. This alternately tender and brutally hilarious long novella emerges as something new, yet still contumaciously, caustically, inimitably Brewer. You are about to enter the “Otto Zone,” and life is about to change.

Barbaric Mercies

Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: December 1, 2003

$12.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-888996-67-6


“Gaylord Brewer’s Barbaric Mercies is a book of extraordinary and delightful individuality. Alternately aggressive, outrageous, whimsical, and heartfelt, the poems are never predictable but always authentic. The author has such a genius for phrasing that there are many lines that make the reader stop and sigh or smile. A dark and delicious volume.”—Dana Gioia

“Barbaric Mercies, Mr. Brewer’s finest book of poems yet, seamlessly weaves a rich tapestry between landscape and longing, the poet’s big heart for language and his voracious appetite for making an impact on this life. This is a visionary collection, a lasting celebration to travel, leaving familiar turf for the unfamiliar, reveling in the simple beauty of words, gestures, images. If there is anything “barbaric” about this book and these poems, it is their striving to make an indelible impact on our consciousness as readers. Their taking hold of our imaginations and our moods hearkens back to Whitman’s “barbaric yawp,” that shouting/singing only the best poets seem to do rather effortlessly and with resounding ability.”—Virgil Suárez


Gaylord Brewer

Publication Date: September 1, 1999

$12.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-888996-15-3


This book is a brouhaha of fun and cleverness, where many of the poems are double-edged with humor and lasting wisdom. … These poems are delivered with the perfect clarity of everyday language.—The Cafe Review

Brewer is the most consistently dark-side-of-the-moon poet around…his…athletic style exactly suits the subject.—Hugh Fox, Small Press Review (Review of Presently A Beast)

I love the edgy laughter I hear on almost every page…There’s a ‘camaraderie of betrayal, lust, and song’.—David Kirby



WORSHIP THE PIG (Gaylord Brewer) reviewed in Sugar House Reviews!

This could be called a book of odes, of praise songs, of quests punctuated with wry asides. Of poems saying not what the poet starts out to say, but what the poems say instead. Take the introductory poem, “When It’s Done Right,” the play on Mary Oliver’s dictum that “happiness, // when it’s done right, […]

#Throwback review of Gaylord Brewer’s WORSHIP THE PIG!

It’s difficult for me to find comparisons to these poems. There are qualities that bring to mind Milosz’s humble prophesies or the earthy divinities of Robert Bly. Some of Brewer’s poems contain the sensuality of Sufi mystic poetry, while most are subtly meditative.  There’s little that’s explicitly stylized here. Brewer’s writing is direct. He points, […]