Brendan Constantine


Brendan Constantine was born in Los Angeles, the second child of actors Michael Constantine and Julianna McCarthy. An ardent supporter of Southern California’s poetry communities and one of its most recognized poets, he has served as a teacher of poetry in local schools and colleges since 1995. His first collection, ‘Letters to Guns,’ was released in February 2009 from Red Hen Press to wide acclaim.  His work can be found in many of the nation’s standards, including Poetry, Tin House, Best American Poetry, Poem-a-Day, Virginia Quarterly, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Field, Chautauqua, and Poetry Daily. His most recent collections are ‘Dementia, My Darling’ (2016) from Red Hen Press and ‘Bouncy Bounce’ (2018), a chapbook from Blue Horse Press. Mr. Constantine has received support from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, also appearing on NPR’s All Things Considered, TED ED, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. He currently teaches creative writing at the Windward School.  In addition, he brings poetry workshops to veterans, hospitals, foster care centers, & shelters for the homeless. He is also very proud of his work with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Since 2017, he has been working with speech pathologist Michael Biel to develop the first poetry workshop for people dealing with Aphasia. Source

What's Not to Love

about a broken bowl,

now two half-bowls,


still ready to hold

what they can, even


if that’s nothing


What’s not to love

about weeds and weeds


and weeds that crowd

the yard, and thrive


amazingly on the same



What’s not to love

about a virus crowding


the blood, putting a doll

of itself in each cell


and sailing it away

to find fortune


in the heart

What’s not to love


about the dying heart

with its four dark rooms


full of grass and broken

china, a sheeted piano


about to play

What’s not to love


about a sonata played

by a lonely child


who would rather do

anything else,


sleep in a garden

or pull up the flowers,


who would rather be sick

What’s not to love


about reading aloud

to someone fast asleep,


about not stopping,

not even when


a bowl slides from the bed

and crashes


like a bell in water





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Joy & Praise

Poems of the Everyday

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”