We Begin in Gladness is well worth reading for its celebration of the art, and for placing poetry as a necessity in today's frenzied society — where dystopian fiction sells well, and too few people take time to read. Teicher's examination of poets' artistic maturation is an engaging topic. If his conclusions are informed by his own taste, we can appreciate him as a generous guide through his chosen profession ... There may be readers who would prefer to have had more background threaded through Teicher's thoughtful examination of the poetic life. The presumption that poetry is a language of common parlance would be welcome if true. But alas, it is not.
Refreshingly, the author discusses less well-established poets such as Monica McClure and francine j. harris, but he is at his most astute when assessing the oeuvres of poets whose careers are complete, or nearly so ... Teicher’s narrative is marred by occasional romantic self-seriousness—e.g., poets 'are people who, for any number of reasons, cannot, or at one point could not, speak…the keepers of the unsayable'—and he is on shakier ground when, instead of discussing poems, he attempts to divine the motives of the poet ... Imperfect but the insights outweigh the pretension.