Winner of the 2007 Colorado Prize for Poetry, selected by Paul Hoover

Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems is a beautiful and original work that appears to be, on first impression, a light-hearted and amusingly self-conscious account of daily life. Brenda (the author’s then fiancée, now wife) is indeed in the room. Because she and the world are loved, the everyday is lyrically charged: “therefore allow me to look / out into a world about which / I have something to say: / were I able to see it all—how / the trees really smell, how the wind actually blows . . . / I think / my mouth would be too full / to speak.” Down to its prepositions, such precision (which is also honesty) could not be more persuasive: to look out into a world, where “a single tree remains, still holding a twitching leaf.” As soon as I had read the book, I wanted immediately to read it again, for its pebble that is also a planet; for its one-celled organism that, to regenerate the world, “sings the world’s last song.” —Paul Hoover, final judge, and author of Poems in Spanish and Edge and Fold

He revels in disparaging the sanctioned (“to be a father is to be / the one who goes”); in disclosing the abject (“the muddy word son / is a sad contraction / for solitary one”); in discovering what the verse he has read has not easily dared or deigned to identify as its own (“little photographs of / a mind trying to look at itself in a mirror”): which is to say, Teicher is one of our new poets. Yet note the hugged consolation of our old ones: an opening anthem to Voice (formerly know as the Muse); a continuous homage to a Master (“I’m rushing / to finish Ammons’s long poem [which is] / keeping me afloat”); and a pervasive praise (it becomes an eager epithalamion) of the eponymous beloved “in the room.” Oh yes, this is a glistening new poem—really all one sequence, like L’Allegro and Il Penseroso interleaved—it is even, sometimes, in prose, a sure sign of neoterism, yet it has all the scars and scuff-marks of a classic apprenticeship entertained and giddily undone with fresh humors, high spirits, heroic energies: a veritable hotbed. —Richard Howard, author of The Silent Treatment, Inner Voices: Selected Poems, and Paper Trail: Selected Prose

About the Author:

Craig Morgan Teicher’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Paris Review, the Yale Review, A Public Space, Boston Review, Pleiades, Seneca Review, Octopus, Jubilat, and other magazines. He writes reviews and prose for many publications, including The Believer, Time Out New York, and Poets & Writers. He has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and received his MFA from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an excerpt from Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems.