"Life, Orange to Pear" by John Brantingham

  • "Life, Orange to Pear" by John Brantingham

Life, Orange to Pear follows a man and his daughter Cyndi as they deal with life, the occult, Santa Claus, boys, and death. This universe is a strange and rich place, and sometimes it takes booze and a surreal understanding of sex and The Rockford Files to get through life. Mostly though what it takes is a deep and abiding love for the richness of oranges and pears, how their scent can take you over and make everything in the moment all right.

In an age of superficiality, mediocrity, and sound-cliches, John Brantingham is a genuine throwback to when Men of Letters roamed the literary prairies: a scholar, novelist, poet, essayist, scriptwriter, public speaker, reviewer, professor, mentor, and festival organizer.  He is first-rate in everything he turns his mind and hand to.   His poems benefit from the breadth of his life experiences as well as his formal academic training.  His creative and intellectual emanations brim with his enthusiasms, his versatility, and the depths of spirituality and social conscience at the core of his soul.  There is no one of whom I could speak more highly, as a writer and as a person.
—Gerald Locklin, poet
John Brantingham’s ability to convey the essence of his characters is unparalleled. The emotional truths on the page resonate deep within the reader. His ear for dialogue, his ability to render just the right details of a scene is an impeccable balance of control and sensitivity. Effortless authenticity. What a joy to read his words. He is one of my favorite writers. One of the very best working today.
—Grant Hier, former inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Anaheim and winner of Prize Americana
All those wild elements of the forest exist in the city and all the wild elements of the city exist outside of it and all the truth and beauty does too. All of that lives inside of us as well.

Shrimper Interview with John Brantingham, by Dennis Callaci

November 13, 2020

John Brantingham’s newest book, Life, Orange to Pear, begins and ends with fruit.
I’m not spoiling anything for you. It’s right there in the title. It’s also, surprise, about life–how it begins, ends, and everything in between. The simple act of eating fruit in the opening and closing scenes of this book poses the idea that we can find comfort in the simplest moments so long as we choose to look for it. This book proposes that we must appreciate simplicity while we, at the same time, grapple with complexity and existential terror.

Tears in the Fence: an independent, international literary magazine

November 11, 2020

Brantingham is an innovative writer, his form and structure carry us to an understanding of those things hardest to understand. Tight, concrete descriptions of everyday images point to truths far beyond the stated scene. John doesn’t preach; he instead leaves the heavy lifting to the reader. In his hands the mundane is seen to be the wonderment it is.

Cultural Weekly, review by Kendall Johnson

November 25, 2020


John Brantingham reads "Orange" from Life, Orange to Pear. Artwork by Ann Brantingham.

John Brantingham


John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines, Writers Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He has eleven books of poetry and fiction including The L.A. Fiction Anthology (Red Hen Press), Crossing the High Sierra (Cholla Needles Press), and California Continuum: Migrations and Amalgamations (Pelekinesis) co-written with Grant Hier. His newest work is Objects of Curiosity, a series of untitled ekphrastic poems about art featured at the Sasse Museum in Upland California. You can view it here: http://sasseartmuseum.org/. He is currently working on another ekphrastic collection with the Sasse Museum about public art in and around the Inland Empire. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. He is a regular contributor to Cultural Weekly.

Email: johnmbrantingham@aol.com

Facebook: @jbrantingham1

Website: californiaimagismgallery.com

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