Constantine is the second child of two working actors and is named for Irish playwright Brendan Behan. For as long as he can remember, he's been making things up. He has been teaching poetry in Southern California schools and colleges for the past seventeen years. He also regularly brings poetry workshops to foster and eldercare centers and homeless shelters and has worked with the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. He is currently poet-in-residence at The Windward School and Loyola Marymount University Extension. In 2002, Constantine was nominated for Poet Laureate of the state of California.
Known for his dreamy abstraction and the emotional ferocity of his work both on the page and on the stage, Constantine continues to explore "the illusion of knowledge" and the "facts of our dreams" in his newest collection, Birthday Girl with Possum, in which he blends classic and colloquial diction, pop culture and historical references, and multiple approaches to writing ("odes, codes, lectures, letters, tests and attendance sheets").
His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Los Angeles Review, The Cortland Review, RUNES, and LA Times Bestseller The Underground Guide to Los Angeles. New work is forthcoming in Rattle, 2River View, and Verse Wisconsin. His first collection, Letters to Guns, was published in February 2009 by Red Hen Press. Here's what one reviewer had to say about that collection:
"In the hands of Brendan Constantine poetry is a weapon. That much is obvious. But one never knows, his poems will explode with bullets or flowers because Constantine is both guerilla fighter and beguiling jester. Melancholy, hysterical, literary, musical-- the insights, like the forms (epistles, odes, annotated poems), of Letters to Guns are unpredictable, innovative and above all gripping. I am as helpless as anyone looking down the barrel of a gun. These poems are dangerous fun!
Constantine holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Hollywood at Bela Lugosi’s last address.
Please join us tonight at 7 pm for what is sure to be a lively evening of poetry and entertainment.