Brenda Is in the Room & Other Poems

Craig Morgan Teicher, Author . Center for Literary Publishing $15.95 (132p) ISBN 978-1-885635-10-5

This first book, winner of the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry, has the plainspokenness and unguarded candor about writing and ambition more often found in a later book by an established poet—think Robert Creeley. As such, it shows a rarer thing: a young poet in thrall to the promise of being a poet and taking that as his topic. Teicher, an associate editor at PW , quotes E.M. Cioran—“one does not write because one has something to say but because one wants to say something”—and, in these 22 poems, he seeks his voice (“Inaudible voice, silent voice /voice of my head”), analyzing who he is hearing: a father, a mother, the voices of other poets—A.R. Ammons and William Bronk among them. Ammons, in fact, is unabashedly imitated in the leisurely 40-page “Poem to Read at My Wedding,” while Bronk's “as if” formulations drive several of these poems: “As if// a thing lost or forgotten, discarded,/ fled, written down and revised, revisited/ were a cure for dead dogs....” Teicher puts his faith in the hypothetical “as if,” as if being in love with poetry made poetry, as if being in love made love. The book's title poem conflates these two—poetry and love: the room in which the poet's wife, Brenda, roams and works is also the stanza, which itself means “room.” Part of the charm here is how poetry and love are not suffered ironically, but gathered and won, “As if the answer is flowers”—a surprisingly sage observation for this young poet who indeed has something to say. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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