J.B. Bryan


How Can I Follow
My Beautiful Dreams?

out of print


In his introductory essay to The Jade Mountain, Witter Bynner explains the pivot of Chinese poetry as the “miracle of identifying the wonder of beauty with common sense.” He went on to predict that future poets would go to school with the old Chinese masters “to learn how best be expressed, for themselves and others, that passionate patience which is the core of life.”

J.B. Bryan’s poems are built sturdy with such classic ingredients — succinct narratives of necessity and enjoyment. This book brings home the lineage of ramshackle imagination engaged in the dialectics of self-critique. There is a common sense here, knee-deep in the daily archaic. And there’s humor—lest we forget our world is a brief home between thirst and quenched. There’s also magic—every particular jewel of connection which makes the family’s pasta and all its etcetera. While the State goes to ruin, mountains and rivers remain; while Market Culture grinds upon us all, the artist builds a studio from scratch and rows it like a boat. Patiently by passion— incorrigible, still breathing.


I have two trick knees & a detoxed liver, so whatever you dranking, count me out. Come to think of it, your poetry makes me walk funny too. It’s alive and dancing, full of zen implosions, hot tea, sunlight, driftwood cogwheel fiddles, tenderness & glittering streams, thoughtful craft, glistening salamander enjambments, drunken fairy god mothers, talking donkeys, a child, war & peace, and the whole enchilada. AND the kitchen sink. Makes my head spin. Spin the way it’s ’spose to.

— Mark Weber


Sing praises, this stuff is the real, all-the-way, luscious poetry thing. A wild bliss comes up reading these lines aloud to anyone near—what mouth feel, tang & texture, and Ye Gods saying what really matters. This is a blast from our lingual future, fresh language like new cream, rico. Clean, clear seeing, welcome to the New World. These poems offer so much place, fully felt, you can smell the humus. So much ebullient, boiling nutsy sane truth. A pantheon of elk, onion and woodpecker, daughter and dust motes—the view will stun you. All the Old Ones are on their feet, shouting bravo as the Canon creaks open its clenched jaws. Where have these poems been all my needy life? Ecstatic to have them at last, in hand!

— Judyth Hill


A virgo and a boomer, J.B. Bryan is poet, painter, graphic designer, publisher of La Alameda Press, former bookseller at Living Batch Bookstore, and a cranky advocate of alternative culture. He was educated at the University of Iowa, University of New Mexico, and California State University at Long Beach. As a book designer, he has a gained a reputation for distinctive style and classic typography. As a 30 year semi-native of New Mexico, he and family have a funky but lovely existence on the edge of town in the North Valley along the Rio Grande. As an artist, he often quotes Henri Matisse:

“Perhaps it is sublimated voluptuousness,
and that may not be visible to everyone.”

His chapbooks also include Two Arms Held High; Lush in the Eddies; and Chlorophyll Wavy Lulu.