A Song About Circles Cover


“Breyak’s poems open into reflections that squeak through the pincers of ideology and allow us to experience again the world’s deep-down strangeness. The gods of violence stalk these poems, and daily life in our era of simulations and surveillance is registered as a netherworld between wakefulness and sleep where selfhood undergoes slippage. Quietly uncompromising, intimate and searching, these poems are sustained by a profound sensibility.”

—Lee Upton, author of The Day Every Day Is and Tabitha, Get Up

“These marvelous poems by Steven Breyak unsettle me the way a good horror movie does, and by ‘good’ I mean a movie that is cerebral, intelligent, and even hilarious from time to time. To read them is to grow familiar with Breyak’s one big idea, which is that things are never as they seem: one poem begins, ‘Every time I turn away the details change their place,’ and that happens again and again here in endlessly enchanting ways. A man in one poem buys something but is given his change in foreign coins. The speaker in another walks in the woods behind his childhood home and discovers a tribe of little people carrying spears. Readers will identify with the personae whose baffling, alluring lives are dramatized here: in the end I felt as though I were looking at my own house but from across the street, eager to find out what the guy inside is up to.”

—David Kirby, author of The Winter Dance Party: Poems 1983–2023

After finishing a graduate degree, poet Steven Breyak left Boston for what was supposed to be a year abroad. After seventeen years teaching English in Osaka, Japan, he returned in 2024 to the US with his wife and two children.

pub date: 2024-10-01
$18.00 | 62 pages
isbn: 978-1-963846-13-3 (paperback)
Cover design by Anne Marie Hantho