cover image Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey

Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey

Craig Morgan Teicher. BOA, $17 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-950774-25-8

Anticipating middle age, Teicher (The Trembling Answers) meditates on his “hurried, harried life” as a husband, father, and poet in his generous fourth collection. The setting is a suburban house in which dishes are washed, diapers changed, the basement cleaned, and garbage collected. Throughout “the tedium of precious moments” that constitute parenthood, the poet takes stock of his life: “But I am an artist, I say, as I dump another load of cans into the recycling bin.” The main cast are the poet’s immediate family—wife, daughter, and son—as well as his distant father and deceased mother, all of whom weave through the poet’s days and nights in an uncanny choreography. As “the house creaks to pass, or mark, the time/ under our bare feet,” husband and wife dance a pas de deux: “You used to be her. I used to be him.” The rhyme and meter of traditional sonnet form reinforces the constraints of daily life and “encoded,” generational patterns. At his best, Teicher borrows an ember from Frank O’Hara’s “I do this I do that” poetry to light his family hearth, wielding the urbane form in the service of suburban existentialism in these affecting lines. (Apr.)