John Brehm was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska and educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of four books of poetry, Sea of Faith, Help Is on the Way, No Day at the Beach, and Dharma Talk. His collection of essays, The Dharma of Poetry, was published by Wisdom Publications and is a companion to his acclaimed anthology, The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy, also from Wisdom Publications. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Sun, The Southern Review, Plume, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, New Ohio Review, The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Best American Poetry, The Norton Introduction to Literature, and many other journals and anthologies.

John offers a monthly Poetry as Spiritual Practice gathering and with his wife, Feldenkrais teacher Alice Boyd, leads mindfulness retreats that incorporate Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons, guided meditations, and mindful poetry discussions. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


“Brehm knows what it is to live in a fallen world, knows what it is to live with a less than perfect self, and knows that rendering this state of being strikes a universal chord. You simply can’t resist reading many of these poems out loud to someone else. So easily do they make their way inside you, you might be tempted to think of them as ‘easy.’ Yet each poem is original, and if they feel familiar they do so because Brehm has given voice to the complexities of being, handing us back to ourselves through the surety of his craft.”

—Judith Kitchen in The Georgia Review

“Brehm’s poems are sexy, funny, often brilliantly crafted, and wonderfully sweet at their core. Sea of Faith is one of those rare books one can confidently recommend to any friend, even those whose hearts are hardened to poetry.”

—David Daniel in Ploughshares

“Reading John Brehm, it is difficult not to be charmed by his voice and glittering wit…. Brehm is the poet-friend you’ve always wanted…a plain-speaking raconteur—delightfully hyperbolic, ironic, and comically self-deprecating.”

—Mike Wilmot in Prairie Schooner

“These poems are ecstatic songs, human tunes, being sung in a tone of honesty that makes you want to sing yourself.”

—Matthew Dickman in Tin House