“When the unruly bodies of boys encounter the god of longing, anything can happen. The jagged, mystical coast is haunted by Eros in Brent Calderwood’s meaty, eloquent poems; they are a true encounter with the flesh.”
— D. A. Powell
“The man who speaks in Brent Calderwood’s poems longs for the affective, erotic and soulful bond between two men that we’d like love to be, yet he also understands that love occupies a ‘fault zone,’ a territory of fracture and slippages. That’s the rocky landscape of this book, but struggle is also a source of education, and Calderwood’s poetic voice is increasingly tempered, not lacking hope but perhaps no longer believing in the easy magic love might once have seemed. Here an adult gay man looks at the stuff of a life with both tenderness and a clear, steady gaze.”
— Mark Doty, National Book Award winner
“Brent Calderwood’s The God of Longing is a moving debut that explores desire and loss in all their tender complexities. Calderwood writes narrative and abecedarian poems that recover wounded memories of homophobia, sonnets that remember lost lovers, and serialized poems—reminiscent of Adrienne Rich’s ‘Twenty-One Love Poems’—that soak in the strange, erotic accidents and tangible intricacies of city life. Calderwood’s poems are both private yet accessible, direct yet elegant, and achingly empathetic.”
— Cathy Park Hong
“Brent Calderwood’s poems find a voluptuous and cozy spot right in between narrative clarity and lyrical heat. The stories he tells of childhood and its bruised sequelae have the intimacy of a riveting miniseries scripted by a modern-day Catullus, with sexy cameos and heart-rending finales. Like a moral logician, he scrutinizes his elegantly lineated equations of love to make sure that every tender decimal is accounted for. The God of Longing satisfies my longing for a book of poems I can take to heart.”
— Wayne Koestenbaum
"In The God of Longing, Calderwood’s most striking poems resolve and revolve around an ever-shifting display, a pageant on the age-old conflict between Apollo and Dionysus, between the ecstatic experience and the quieter moments of remembering it, or wanting it so bad, so bad that sometimes it’s good, real good, exquisite in fact [...]"
— Kevin Killian, poet/playwright/critic/Amazon Hall of Fame
"The God of Longing, published by Sibling Rivalry Press, weaves themes of heartache and loss, eroticism and satire into an honest and accessible collection. Classical allusions and pop cultural references, though tempered by Calderwood’s plain-spoken language, add a depth to his poems that lingers with the reader [...]"
— James McDonald, Out.com
"He is an extraordinarily impressive poet, able to touch those interstices of desire and love — the heights, the lows, the joys, the pains, and the profound loneliness of love lost. Brent's poetry is universal, but he is one of the few gay poets who at last understands the specific wounds that same sex love can create — and heal [...]"
— Grady Harp, Amazon Top 100, Hall of Fame reviewer
"Brent Calderwood’s debut collection from Sibling Rivalry is an impressive volume speaking to possibilities — the potential of the narrators to become any number of men, from the 'different boys' in 'Ballad of the Kind Young Men' to the ones who seek absolute perfection of 'Anal Bleaching is All the Rage' [...]"
— Jerry L. Wheeler, Out in Print blog
"San Francisco poet and A&U magazine editor Brent Calderwood's latest, The God of Longing, includes 31 affecting poems that entertain with wit and perceptive candor, and scorch with bold-faced honesty.... The truth hurts, and Calderwood isn't afraid to tell it like it is [...]"
— Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter
“This beautiful poem evokes a city landscape lit up with the possibility of new love. But it’s also tense with the speaker’s awareness that this hope may never be realized. In this way ‘The Golden Hour’ captures how love and desire lead us forward, but can also hold us hostage.
"Brent Calderwood, poet and essayist, speaks not only of an emotional connection to the song 'A Case of You,' he also takes the song apart structurally, metrically and thematically, citing other writers, poets and critics to back up his critical stance."
— Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, Canda), on the essay "Be Prepared to Bleed" from Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell's Songs (2012)
"Le présent article esquisse la problématique inhérente à ce qui pourrait être une épistémologie du viol mise en branle dans le chef d’œuvre de Thomas Hardy.... On aura compris, à la lecture de cet article, qu’utiliser le féminisme anti-sexe d’une Dworkin ou d’une MacKinnon comme seule grille de lecture plomberait l’exégèse de la plupart des textes où il est question de violence sexuelle." ["This article outlines the problems inherent in an epistemology that was perhaps originally presented in Thomas Hardy's masterpiece.... A reading of the article undermines the notion that the anti-sex feminist theory of a Dworkin or MacKinnon should be the sole lens, as is the view of most critical texts, which simply read the scene as one of sexual violence." —my translation]
— Maxime Foerster, PhD, review of "Vice and Consent: The Question of Rape in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles" (Tiresias: Culture, Politics and Critical Theory, vol. 1 issue 1)