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'Every poem is about what isn't in it': interview with Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher by Sarah Lew Hi-Res In an interview with Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Craig Morgan Teicher discusses his two most recent publications, Ambivalence and Other Conundrums (Omnidawn, Fall 2014) and To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, Fall 2012). Teicher is known for his intimately confessional poetry, which, according to Publishers Weekly, "risks most everything poetry can risk." Check out these excerpts we found particularly interesting: CWB: I have found your poetry to be constantly engaging in a variety of forms and yet, at the same time, taking up the feasibility of language as an effective device for communication as a continual theme. I might argue that the use of form implies that a meaning can not only be derived, but contained in a poetic form (as if in an equation) and that by using language to fill that form you condone its use as the proper tool to effect communication through whatever form has been chosen. Your poetry often takes a stance of contradiction to this which is, in fact, quite pleasing. Could you speak to this? CMT: I think a very basic human tragedy, a basic frustration, is the inability to really cross the border between inner and outer lives. Language is our best bet for making that crossing, but there is so much from inside that never gets out on the backs of words. So, I agree with you: poetry, and especially formal poetry, is basically meaningful, but the form is always trying to tell us the story of what can't be said in its own words. Every poem is about what isn't in it. CWBTo Keep Love Blurry is, I think, largely driven by coming to terms with the death of your mother and its subtext is about settling into the themes of post adolescent life such as domesticity and work. It raises the question in me, was this collection about sloughing something off, about, to borrow from D. H. Lawrence, a man who has come through? CMT: For me To Keep Love Blurry was about assuming the responsibilities of adulthood, which, for me, means becoming a parent. It's about the difference between, or the overlaps between being a son and being a father. So it's about giving up certain fantasies, and giving over, to my children, the right to those fantasies, as it were. So lots gets left behind. I think the poem is a good metaphor for growing up, in some ways, because it's all about what isn't kept when one tries to keep some things in words. Click here to read the entire Collected Works interview with Craig Morgan Teicher. To purchase a copy of To Keep Love Blurry, visit the BOA Bookstore.


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