“Pleasure” by Brian Teare– The Lambda Award Winner for Poetry

Teare, Brian. “Pleasure”, Ahsanta Press, 2010.

The Lambda Award Winner for Poetry

Amos Lassen

“Pleasure” is poet Brian Teare’s response to the death of a lover to AIDS. He writes about love and loss and regards the dead lover as an Adam figure and their love was Eden. The poetry is intense and each word is chosen like a jewel as it remembers that Adam gave us words and names. The loss of a lover is a major loss—it is the loss of Eden and the disaster of AIDS takes center stage in the book. The language used is the language of pain and if not pain itself then the thought of pain.

The collection opens with a prose poem about a house that has been stripped and left to ruin and what will happen to it is that it is at the hands of the outside world. It represents what happens when we write and how we write is influenced by the world around us. In poetic terms language is either extremely important or futile but it is directly related to the loss of the poet’s lover two years ago. He shows that language is inadequate to express how he feels and what he wants is a way to express his grief more expressively while not suffering any longer. Teare still uses language as he writes about his lover and that language is tender and intimate. The problem with language comes with expressing grief and it simply is not enough.

So naturally one wants to know if these poems are painful and yes they are. The loss of love is always painful and it appears to me that Teare examines his lost love in such the same way he examines language and wonders if either is ever enough. There is no resolution in the collection because Teare has never resolved losing the man he loved—neither has he resolved a way to deal with his grief.

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