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Other titles in the American Poets Continuum series:
American Poets Continuum #135: To Keep Love Blurryby Craig Morgan Teicher
Synopses & Reviews
"The brilliance of these poems is how they renovate not only poetry but language, without pretense, without the declaration of war, without summoning the ghost of Shakespeare in any but the most charming ways. I could live in the mind of these poems and never want to leave." --D.A. Powell
With these refreshingly human, formal, playful, and heart-wrenching poems, Teicher not only proves that form may be adapted to fit a contemporary idiom, but that hes built his own Life Studies within the confessional tradition, one which pushes against his predecessors self-aware and often selfish use of confession, successfully re-enervating the sense of a real life behind the voice.” --The Rumpus
One of Coldfront's Top Ten Poetry Books of 2012, To Keep Love Blurry, "open[s] a world of poems that ask obsessive questions of choice and consequence. These are poems of an interior that reimagines the past, pays tribute to predecessors, and above all, values frankness above artifice The poems are severe in their honesty, which makes them riveting.” --Coldfront
To Keep Love Blurry is about the charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people: husbands and wives, parents and children, writers and readers. These poems include sonnets, villanelles, and long poems, as well as two poetic prose pieces, tracing how a son becomes a husband and then a father. Robert Lowell is a constant figure throughout the book, which borrows its four-part structure from that poet's seminal Life Studies.
Craig Morgan Teicher won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. He is poetry reviews editor for Publishers Weekly magazine and served as vice president on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
"This is the third book for Teicher, who is poetry editor and director of digital operations at PW. In this volume — at the perilously young age of 32 — Teicher (Cradle Book) stages a showdown with his demons, even mentor-demons and lover-demons. The book risks most everything poetry can risk: family, reputation, legacy, privacy. The spirits of dead parents mix with a spouse and children and colleagues, and then, there's Robert Lowell, who presides over this entire volume in a ghostly fashion that should get Harold Bloom's attention. Lowell's Life Studies, in fact, provides the title to the first of two 'books' in this volume, and Lowell is directly the subject of the third and fourth poems. Lowell's circle — Berryman, Bishop, Niedecker, et al. — is the subject of the poem 'Middle Generation.' Teicher grapples with that mid-century's confessional and yet highly formal work by fighting same with same. 'All words stand for pain,' he writes, in one of the many brilliant sonnets. You feel Teicher's pain in a word, 'Cal,' the name of his young son whose 'need for care' is referenced and who, one might assume, is named after Lowell, who was known by that name to friends. Such is the way of words and what they issue. Marriage and fatherhood wreak agony from Teicher, as does the pain of having lost his own mother early, the young poet-to-be cast into the world groping for language — 'Her death was like waking up to fried/ food cooking on another family's stove/ in another life where no one cried.' In the 'blurry' regions of the title, he conflates his helpless mother in late-stage illness with a helpless infant and sees in his own relation to women the helpless boy wanting to be mothered — 'the world is overripe with surrogate moms,/ it turns out, and I'm a willing son.' Ultimately, Teicher looks to Lowell, a poetic father, to give him the backbone to 'make himself look good' even if 'his art was saying I've been bad.' Although the persona in these poems toys with annihilation and (twice) with 'dull blades,' it survives, and does so through aesthetic will: tight sonnets, a perfect villanelle, a moving prose memoir. 'True self-haters,' writes the poet in 'Confession,' 'perform to empty houses, late.' That won't be Teicher's fate. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Inspired by Lowell's Life Studies, Teicher explores troubled spaces between loved ones as a son becomes a husband and father.
About the Author
Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems, selected by Paul Hoover for the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Cradle Book, named a Notable Book of 2010 by the Story Prize committee. His poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Paris Review and many other publications.
He is Director of Digital Operations and Poetry Reviews Editor for Publishers Weekly magazine and served as a Vice President on the board of the National Book Critics Circle from 2009-2012. His book reviews, features and prose pieces appear widely in many venues, including NPR, Bookforum, Slate, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was founding editor of the MediaBistro blog eBookNewser and is written extensively about digital publishing. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate creative writing courses and NYU and the New School and received his MFA from Columbia University.
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