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A Fairy-Tale Review for Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher's Cradle Book recently received a glowing review from blogger Tracy K. Smith over at The Best American Poetry. Relating an episode from her own college days when one of her professors spent the first half hour of her first class of the term reading Italo Calvino's "The Parrot" aloud, Smith unearths the "large, strange order to which even we- in our post-post modern moment- are subject," and the inexorable draw to fables and folk tales which we all find in ourselves. "I think they speak to a place in us that is very similar to where poems reach us. That spot that is nourished by a different kind of sense- one that often confounds (or acts as an antidote to) the day-to-day nature of things," Smith writes. It is this captivating, lyrically poetic quality of Teicher's short stories which leads her to link his work with that of Italo Calvino, author of such works as Invisible Cities and Cosmicomics. Smith notes the allegorical, fable-like feel of Teicher's pieces, saying, "[his] prose hits home in a way that is similar to aphorism. There's a wisdom that feel wholly original and yet familiar on an ur-level. Reading, I was continually struck by the feeling of having stepped into a happy reunion with something that i probably, perhaps, once, without realizing it, knew." "Cradle Book is incredibly rich and incredibly slim, incongruously small considering all it contains. To quote Teicher's story, 'The Red Cipher,' it is '[l]ike those unusual houses that are much bigger on the inside than their exteriors suggest,' as if each tale opens up a kind of hall of mirrors, something flickering into the distance in such a way as to suggest a path... This is a book to read aloud, to spend time under the spell of. Like the older fables Teicher must have had in his mind and ears when these were written, the stories in Cradle Book slip easily into the region of a reader's imagination where a good story is capable of waylaying danger, and where impenetrable mystery is realer and more relevant than what we see, by day, through our actual eyes." Cradle Book, published by BOA in 2010, is available for purchase here. Read the rest of Tracy K. Smith's review here.
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