Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize-winning poet Craig Morgan Teicher contemplates middle age, marriage, raising a young family in suburbia and taking care of a severely disabled child in a mix of free-verse lyrics, prose poems and two sonnet sequences.
Teicher perfectly captures the teetering feel of middle-age: a lament clothed in appreciation (our gifts, collected and overflowing in our arms, can weigh us down) ... Let it never be trite to say that poets reveal the poetry of our lives ... A genuine, searching, and honest book of considerable skill. Postscript: the late-collection poem New Jersey is magnificent.
Teicher might have us believe something about the close-quartered intimacies readers overhear—that somehow we’re not meant to notice—but these poems belie their making: of course, one notices because the poems demand our attention ... Teicher ironically admits to himself, 'I find / my energies once again, diverted into a secondary, or tertiary, / channel, another eddying place'—as if the act of writing a poem were somehow more than an eddying place where one returns to the same questions, obsessions, the same loves, memory. These poems gently nudge both their maker and their readers into remembering just how valuable, if not entirely sacred, that eddying place becomes when time continues: 'Craig, this is the only life you’ll get. / It must be you who cares.'
Craig Morgan Teicher writes with a dreamy, dark humor of middle age, suburban parenting, and nuclear family life ... The book is at its most deft and the poet at his most mortal when talking about sleep and wakefulness. Between these two realms, there continues to be the hazy routines of keeping alive, but at the poles of consciousness drifting in and out, in poems such as 'Late Fireworks' or 'Dialogue between Married Poets,' the book enters an exquisite uncertainty where the poet, free from his daily realism, can play, flirt, sing, breathe.