Ecological, erotic, compassionate, and mystical, these poems return us to the mystery of this world, the mystery all around us we so easily forget.
In the lucid, melodic, various poems of This World, Teddy Macker returns us to the great mystery all around us, a mystery we so easily forget, the mystery of trout, the mystery of orchard, the mystery of our beautiful human bodies.
Within these pages, Macker also chronicles the journey inside the whale, telling us not just of fear and trembling but also of the magnificent harps only found in the belly of the beast. By turns ecological, erotic, compassionate, and mystical, these poems return us to “this world, the kingdom we’ve been looking for.”
“What impresses me about the poems in Teddy Macker’s This World is their dynamism, their resistance to simply recording events—there is nothing passive or static in his work, his poems seek, and what they reveal time and again is Macker’s sense of the marvelous around us.”
“After reading a Teddy Macker poem, on its natural, unforced trajectory to “the here inside the here,” sometimes set in the plain and commonplace, sometimes through a mix of histories and traditions, I will utter a hmm, as though I’ve awakened from some sleep.”
“The phrase “this world” appears over and over in the book, as Macker intentionally returns to his core idea—praise for earthly experience…his voice on the page is hushed not a holler…speaks lovingly and joyously about most all of life…with his moving language, he reinvigorates old subjects.”
“Kafka felt that literature should be an ax smashing the frozen sea encasing the heart. What joy to find an old-souled young poet laying about him with that ax. Clarity and attention here meet love of language and Love itself. Long study of the greats leads to deft improvisations on the greats’ themes, devotion to “the least of these my brothers and sisters” chief among the themes. The created realm in this poetry is not a phantasmagoria of chemical compounds, but an alchemical instrument through which divine life catches ravishing glimpses of itself. Teddy Macker is a midwife of the Spirit, and This World is, as Boehme has it, a string in the concert of God’s joy.”
–David James Duncan
“Who touches this touches a man. Incredibly moving, risk-taking, original, and deep. I was in tears a number of times while reading it. Magnificent.”
– Barry Spacks, author of Spacks Street
“The great and the tiny—”the train passes and I see my wife’s little hoop earring on the windowsill”—marry effortlessly in this wise and moving debut volume. There is at its core a trembling sense of wonder grounded by a rich “insect particularity,” by “the lilac undersides of trout.” Many prescient lines in this necessary book recall the likes of Issa or Basho, but poet Teddy Macker communes with the storied poets of solitude from an original angle—he is not so much one of them as he is all of us.”
–Chris Dombrowski, author of Earth Again
“Teddy Macker claims this is the kingdom we’ve been looking for – earth – not some other, grander place. These pungent, sometimes difficult, always thoughtful poems have great leverage. Take them to card games. Sea lions collide with old men offering figs from tobacco stained hands; the “weird thrilling voice” of coyote barks across the table at young Maltese women. This den of image holds trouble, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
– Martin Shaw, author of Branch from the Lightning Tree, Snowy Tower, and Scatterlings