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The Trembling Answers

By: Craig Morgan Teicher

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Regular price $16.00

About This Title

Winner of the 2018 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

At once an extension of and a departure from his previous explorations of family and art, Craig Morgan Teicher’s The Trembling Answers delves boldly into the tangled realms of fatherhood, marriage, and poetry. Dealing with the day-to-day of family life—including the alert anxiety and remarkable beauty of caring for a child with severe cerebral palsy—these personal narratives brightly illuminate the relationship that exists between poetry and a life fiercely lived.

The Hairdryer Cord Is All Tangled

You’ve stepped out of the shower,
dragged the towel up and down
your clean little self. Now
you’ve got to dry your hair, and quick.
Except there’s this tangle. A clogged
artery? But nothing prevents you from

plugging it in—why won’t you?
somebody love us all? Undo it,
or else who will, and when?

A time machine and God’s eyes-that’s what

you need. Does no one feel
the tectonic plates, magma, glaciers sliding?

You do, who’ve been anticipating death

since you were four. Your hair is still
so wet. Stop thinking! Your face

will stay that way like Gramma warned.

You’ll catch your own swift undoing.
Untangle the cord, or the knots

will keep seething like a cracked oil pipe

snaking along the ocean floor.
This may be your one chance to stop

the fateful flap of the butterfly’s wings.

Cities are shaking, sinking, singing.
The Earth is burning! Quick, untangle it!

Praise for The Trembling Answers

Teicher’s poems are largely confessional and autobiographical, and The Trembling Answers is no exception; this particular volume deals with explorations of family and fatherhood, and the role his poetry plays across each. One of Teicher’s great strengths is his honesty. He frequently reveals his flaws and mistakes to the reader, laying bare intimate details about his wife, his son, and his marriage to illustrate his humanity. His writing is full of lists and repetition, as if Teicher is searching for answers in real-time. Each poem is meaty and sprawling, providing plenty of space for interpretation and re-interpretation.Literary Hub

“An affecting examination of the trade-offs that parenthood, adulthood, and art require. This is a modest book, but also a rare, undeceived one. It offers only what it can, which may be all that poetry can hope to: small joys and hard-won wisdom.”Publishers Weekly 

Prolific reviewer, Colorado Prize winner, and director of digital operations at Publishers Weekly, Teicher writes affectingly about family relations and the particular burdens and beauties of raising a disabled child. This is poetry, in other words, about how life really feels: Night is long, life short. / I cover you with my eyes.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Craig Morgan TeicherThe Trembling Answers, an ultra-vivid / catalog of things / undone, hopes // unfulfilled, opportunities unnoticed so / untaken, is a portrait not only of the speaker (who is handsome, he claims in one of his many wry unvarnished self-assessments, as long as he avoids the mirror) but of any human being who refuses to delude himself as lifes options narrow and love deepens, sharpens, extracts its beautiful dues from us. Humor and fearlessness pulse through these poems. Teichers so-called answers are complicated by anxiety, excitement, and the drive to know in these poems of resilience, joy, lament, and the existential dread of the looming erotic. Time seems to run backwards even as it moves relentlessly forward. Teicher’s speakers are like those figures whose faces are half-smiling, half-crying, mordantly aware of their own beautiful failings and contradictions. Part confession, part manifesto, part x-ray, this is a beautiful mea culpa, an I was here that invites its readers to take up their own unanswerables.—Catherine Barnett

Craig Morgan Teichers The Trembling Answers is feverish, big, loving, and tender. In this book we find tireless children, tired parents, everyday chores, and wild imagination. This poet is in love with poetry and so we can trust him to deliver. This book is a stunner unlike anything else I have encountered. Read it and weep.—Peter Gizzi

In these poems, Teicher creates a character, call him Craig Morgan Teicher, who you feel you know and believe.—Hannah Brooks-Motl, Bookforum

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.—Maya Catherine Popa, The Rumpus

I recommend Craig Morgan Teichers new poetry collection, The Trembling Answers, a book of enormous beauty and revelation and hanging questions.—Natalie Shapiro, Kenyon Review

Publication Date: April 11, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-942683-31-5

© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2017