Overview


To Keep Love Blurry is about the charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people: husbands and wives, parents and children, writers and readers. These poems include sonnets, villanelles, and long poems, as well as two poetic prose pieces, tracing how a son becomes a husband and then a father. Robert Lowell is a constant figure throughout the book, which borrows its four-part structure from that poet's seminal Life Studies.

Craig Morgan Teicher won the Colorado ...

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To Keep Love Blurry

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Overview


To Keep Love Blurry is about the charged and troubled spaces between intimately connected people: husbands and wives, parents and children, writers and readers. These poems include sonnets, villanelles, and long poems, as well as two poetic prose pieces, tracing how a son becomes a husband and then a father. Robert Lowell is a constant figure throughout the book, which borrows its four-part structure from that poet's seminal Life Studies.

Craig Morgan Teicher won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. He is poetry reviews editor for Publishers Weekly magazine and served as vice president on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This is the third book for Teicher, who is poetry editor and director of digital operations at PW. In this volume—at the perilously young age of 32—Teicher (Cradle Book) stages a showdown with his demons, even mentor-demons and lover-demons. The book risks most everything poetry can risk: family, reputation, legacy, privacy. The spirits of dead parents mix with a spouse and children and colleagues, and then, there’s Robert Lowell, who presides over this entire volume in a ghostly fashion that should get Harold Bloom’s attention. Lowell’s Life Studies, in fact, provides the title to the first of two “books” in this volume, and Lowell is directly the subject of the third and fourth poems. Lowell’s circle—Berryman, Bishop, Niedecker, et al.—is the subject of the poem “Middle Generation.” Teicher grapples with that mid-century’s confessional and yet highly formal work by fighting same with same. “All words stand for pain,” he writes, in one of the many brilliant sonnets. You feel Teicher’s pain in a word, “Cal,” the name of his young son whose “need for care” is referenced and who, one might assume, is named after Lowell, who was known by that name to friends. Such is the way of words and what they issue. Marriage and fatherhood wreak agony from Teicher, as does the pain of having lost his own mother early, the young poet-to-be cast into the world groping for language—“Her death was like waking up to fried/ food cooking on another family’s stove/ in another life where no one cried.” In the “blurry” regions of the title, he conflates his helpless mother in late-stage illness with a helpless infant and sees in his own relation to women the helpless boy wanting to be mothered—“the world is overripe with surrogate moms,/ it turns out, and I’m a willing son.” Ultimately, Teicher looks to Lowell, a poetic father, to give him the backbone to “make himself look good” even if “his art was saying I’ve been bad.” Although the persona in these poems toys with annihilation and (twice) with “dull blades,” it survives, and does so through aesthetic will: tight sonnets, a perfect villanelle, a moving prose memoir. “True self-haters,” writes the poet in “Confession,” “perform to empty houses, late.” That won’t be Teicher’s fate. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“Although the persona in these poems toys with annihilation and (twice) with ‘dull blades,’ it survives, and does so through aesthetic will: tight sonnets, a perfect villanelle, a moving prose memoir. ‘True self-haters,’ writes the poet in ‘Confession,’ ‘perform to empty houses, late.’ That won’t be Teicher’s fate.”—Publishers Weekly

“Teicher meticulously probes the intersections of writing poetry and living life. He can be lacerating...Teicher’s poems also obsessively chart a kind of epistemological and existential anxiety..."—Bookforum

“What can it mean To Keep Love Blurry — an infinitive phrase suggesting not only value but vigilance. In his second poetry collection, Craig Morgan Teicher demonstrates what is irreconcilable in our commonplace…Obviously, wise elders abound in this collection, but none will quite account for Teicher’s vigilant candor in the ways that he vitally enacts the “blurry.” Even in a collection that is rich with the past’s re-enactment, he admits that the most relevant memories, the most clarifying instances of forgotten dream, are most likely irretrievable, ‘locked away somewhere.’ Surprisingly, Teicher lets us feel the ways in which such a memory’s very irretrievability will offer him something more valuable than clarity…” - On the Seawall

Library Journal
When formal poets are too attached to end rhyme and meter, their poems seem abrasive and simple, not musical. Good formal poetry is a paradox—the reader is never completely unaware of the rhyme, but it takes a back seat to the absorbing content. The majority of poems in this new work from Teicher (Brenda Is in the Room) employ form in the best sense of the word—as a frame, not a crutch. Teicher plays with prose, too, as illustrated by "On His Bed and No Longer Among the Living"—a series of meditations on memory and family, two of the book's key themes—and in "Beginnings of an Essay in Spite of Itself." Mostly, though, and when at his best, Teicher's poems are formal and—as a welcome bonus—amusing, as in "Father": "I'm no model, but do go for things you can touch—/souvenir snow globes, girls. You think too much." VERDICT Readers who like formal poetry and have a sense of humor will certainly appreciate this book.—Stephen Morrow, Ohio Univ., Chillicothe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934414941
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Series: American Poets Continuum
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 88
  • File size: 292 KB

Meet the Author


Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems, selected by Paul Hoover for the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Cradle Book, named a Notable Book of 2010 by the Story Prize committee. His poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Paris Review and many other publications.

He is Director of Digital Operations and Poetry Reviews Editor for Publishers Weekly magazine and served as a Vice President on the board of the National Book Critics Circle from 2009-2012. His book reviews, features and prose pieces appear widely in many venues, including NPR, Bookforum, Slate, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was founding editor of the MediaBistro blog eBookNewser and is written extensively about digital publishing. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate creative writing courses and NYU and the New School and received his MFA from Columbia University.
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