October 10, 2014
Michael Teig’s latest poetry collection, There’s a Box in the Garage You Can Beat with a Stick, has recently gotten the attention of American Microreviews and Interviews.
“As a means of interrogation, a book of poems can pose one or several questions … some questions are meant to drift in the background, unanswered, while others storm to the forefront, demanding replies.” Michael Teig’s poems, according to AMRI reviewer Laurie Young, contain both.
And, though attempting universal questions, and addressing themes as common and central as “the domestic, the environmental, and the animal,” his poems interrogate in a way that’s unique. Young praises the structure of Teig’s work, a chain with few weak links, saying: “Through their connectivity and juxtapositions, through their dexterous leaps of mind and perception, [these poems] rise from the page and occupy, in dazzling multiplicity, the unseen yet fully habitable rooms of consciousness, rooms writers and readers enter to consider questions guaranteeing at best transitory answers.”
Rather than dropping into the droning voice symptomatic of work involving itself with the all-too-real indeterminate quality of life, Teig pronounces such in a voice Young calls “vulnerable, humorous, and encouraging.” Human, perhaps in the way we most hope ourselves to be. Engaged with central questions (not just lofty ones), we are able to orient ourselves around them without losing sight of immediate needs.
Teig’s collection does not stagnate on this uncertainty, nor does it compel us to desperation. Instead, Young says: “The poems acknowledge powerlessness while demonstrating the power of—and inherent in—the imagination.” While questions have historically prompted us to look upwards at—as if through or into—the cosmos, Teig seems to suggest the wide expanse is here, in the seemingly paper-thin spaces between things and the language we use to upholster them.
“Like nesting dolls or an Escher print, Teig’s macrocosm holds many systems, denying the existence of none.”
There’s a Box in the Garage You Can Beat with a Stick is available at the BOA Bookstore.