15 February 2013

Top 40 : To Keep Love Blurry

The Craig Morgan Teicher that is portrayed in To Keep Love Blurry is filled with doubt, remorse, and worry. He has lost his job. His son is disabled, Teicher worries endlessly for his future.

who will take care of him when Brenda and I are dead?

He discusses his arguments with his wife Brenda Shaughnessy.

...How
do I learn to love Brenda right, and learn
to get her to love me how I want to be loved?

He writes in his parent's voices only to have them talk about his flaws and how they are his own psyche. It is confession without the histrionics.

This is you talking to you - I'm dead.

He brings in other poets to quote them then discuss how is not like them. He worries over his fame. What his writing will be after it is over.

A very minor Robert Lowell, with a dash of James Tate

When he isn't ruminating on these things he's talking about death. The book ends with these two stanzas:

Is there truly time for so many tragedies?
Death has earned the key to every city. For who else
tends to all of the sick? Who else takes

in the old? Who else wants us all?
Not even our mothers. In fact,
only death always keeps its promise.

What rises from this book is a more honest confession. An actual look in the mirror, warts and all. At times it gets repetitive, the self-doubt borders on self-obsession. And the continued self-deprecating tone begins to get tiring in longer poems. I've always been suspicious of self-deprecation. It serves only as fishing for compliments. For someone to come back with a 'no, that isn't true' statement.

Teicher's book is great. Coldfront put it at 6 on their year-end list. I agree that this book is great. Teicher is alone inside a book that he created but I think he wants to be even though he says he doesn't.