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Interviews and Praise

Idaho Matters: Boise State Public Radio, author interview about Spinning Tea Cups

The Write Question: Montana Public Radio: “I want to listen to other people’s lifetimes; I want to listen to history”: Alexandra Teague’s ‘Spinning Tea Cups’ explores family, reality, and time

Thursday Arts (P)review: Spokane Public Radio

“While the uncovering of a magician’s trick often drains it of power, the revelations in Alexandra Teague’s essays only increase the potency of their magic. Spinning Tea Cups is fantastic in both senses of the word. It is smart and compelling and gorgeously written. It also balances credulity in the other-worldly with clear-eyed reassessment of what’s usually called ‘the facts,’ creating a complex, deeply human portrait of self and family.”
—Kate Lebo, author of The Book of Difficult Fruit

“This memoir-in-essays recounts growing up in a family of ‘feral Victorians’ in the eccentric occult town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With essayistic ruminations on matters of faith, kitsch, mental health, gun violence, and memory, Spinning Tea Cups has all the page-turning pleasures of an engaging story, along with insight, wisdom, and exquisite prose.”
—Kathryn Nuernberger, author of The Witch of Eye

“Part Portrait of the Artist, part picaresque, Alexandra Teague’s Spinning Tea Cups is a brilliant ride through the landscapes of an artist, starting with the author’s unforgettable mother—a woman psychic, artistic, mercurial, maternal. Like one of the Disney rides that anchor the book, family, lovers, and grief pop in and out in a rollick that magically turns kitsch into wonder.”
—Susanne Paola Antonetta, author of The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here



Get Lit, Spokane, The Surreal is Real: A Conversation on Myths and Magic

Sat. 4/13, 3-4 p.m.

Join Get Lit! Festival headliner Carmen Maria Machado in conversation with writers Maya Jewell Zeller, Alexandra Teague, Jennifer (JP) Perrine, Erin Pringle, and Carla Crujido. All of these writers explore the mythic and surreal as a way of investigating the gendered experiences of women. Alexandra Teague’s Spinning Teacups: A Mythical American Memoir and Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House are both genre-defying memoirs that poke at the lines between reality and our experiences of it; Maya Jewell Zeller’s poetry collection Out Takes/Glove Box explores the weirdness of memory, nostalgia, and meaning-making; Jennifer (JP) Perrine teaches surrealist writing using games and is the author of four poetry collections that wrestle with embodiment, violence, and the meaning of ordinary words; Carla Crujido and Erin Pringle both tackle the mysterious and surprising in their short fiction collections The Strange Beautiful and Unexpected Weather Events. Come witness dark, funny, dazzling poets and prose writers in conversation about the art of going bigger, stranger, and weirder in order to help us see the ways we suffer and survive in a world designed to keep us down.

Unbound Books, Columbia, MO

Sat. 4/20



Reading from Spinning Tea Cups, with Louise Nayer reading from Narrow Escapes, Book Passage, San Francisco

Dec. 2023

Reading from Spinning Tea Cups and conversation with Katie Lee Ellison, Third Place Books, Ravenna, Seattle, WA

Nov. 2023

Maiden, Mother, Crone: Scavenger Hunt and Reading, Portland Book Festival, Mother Foucault's, Portland, OR

with Maya Jewell Zeller, Caitlyn Curran, and Jane Wong

Nov. 2023

Spinning Out: Motherhood, Myths, and Madness, Spark Central, Spokane, WA

book launch with Maya Jewell Zeller's out takes / glove box

Nov. 2023

Idaho Women Writers Panel and Reading, Western Literature Association Conference, Fort Hall, ID

October 12, 2023

Alaska Quarterly Review benefit reading, with Nicky Beer and Mary Peelen

April 2021

watch the video


Unmaking the Patriarchy of the Mind, Get Lit panel, with Kristen Millares Young, Sonora Jha, Brooke Matson, and Laura Read

April 2021

watch the video 

Village Books, Bellingham, with Elizabeth Vignali

October 2020

watch the video

Skylight Books, Los Angeles: Reading, with Kristen Millares Young, Brittany Ackerman, & Lory Bedikian 

July 2020

virtual event

watch the video



for Or What We'll Call Desire

Nicknamed "The American Venus,” Audrey Munson became the most famous sculptor’s model in American history during the early 20th century; she acted in silent films and conducted a public search for a “man as beautiful / as myself” before spending her final decades at the “St. Lawrence State Aslyum for the Insane.” Munson’s fame and her long fall provide a through-line for Teague’s passionate, quirky, righteously outraged third collection, where she joins older icons of women’s struggles. The Russian witch “Baba Yaga Appears in Intro to Feminist Theory”; Italian quarries and sculptors create “kneeling angels — / the most perfect marble — with bloody knees.” Teague, who teaches at the University of Idaho, makes her long sentences into exuberant pageants, part sex appeal, part enduring outrage, and by no means devoid of comedy: Strolling Fifth Avenue, she finds time to remark, “Man in a chicken suit, you’re the only one today / not selling beauty.” For the rest of us, she offers not only anger but sympathy, as Baba Yaga does for the dolls she addresses, trapped in a Disneyland exhibit: “What can you do about this world,” she asks, 'but wave and wave and wave and wave and wave?"

—Stephanie Burt, The New York Times

“Because without words what are we // but ourselves—inarticulate as the sky.” Teague’s poems, so often first anchored in singular moments, evolve into mazes of time and space, as with “The Giant Artichoke.” The narrator, thinking of herself as a child, remembers her mother reading highway billboards, her words filling the space left wide by grief. . . . Teague’s poems turn and turn, their lines moving about, I never feel lost in her work. One of my favorites in this accomplished collection is “Sketch: Charcoal and Body on Paper.” The narrator thinks about models—college students like her—“who posed for Beginning Drawing, / insecurity slipped off their shoulders / and draped over chairs.” She thinks about their “faces / when I’d pass them later in the hall, out of place, / too intimate to look at.” 

—Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions,

Must Read Poetry: August 2019

Shot through Alexandra Teague’s singular new collection is the knowledge that attention is an engine of both violence and tenderness, destruction and salvation. The women of art, history, fairytale, and our own fraught and tenuous present speak out from its pages: the watched have been watching, and they see all of the wretchedness and the wonder in the world around them. We still fall in love with what hurts us, they tell us—a truth at once burden, error, blessing, and necessity. This is an urgent and exacting book about the grace, and the cost, of survival.”        


—Molly McCully Brown

Here's a great new performance of "The Meteorologist Receives More Letters Asking," composed by Ruby Fulton, based on my poem of that title, and performed by the Decho Ensemble (first piece in the program)

for The Wise and Foolish Builders


"Like the Winchester House, Teague's book is masterfully built. . . . It is one of the most formally impressive collections I've seen this year."​


― Dean Rader, Huffington Post

"The Winchester Mystery House becomes a shrine to emptiness, monumentalizing what is missing; it has to be as spectacular as the story it holds, and Alexandra Teague’s The Wise and Foolish Builders functions the same way, spectacularly complex. . ." ​


―Melinda Ruth, Pleiades

for The Principles Behind Flotation 

“Teague’s debut novel masterfully chronicles the friction, contradictions, and emotional tsunamis of being an intelligent 14-year-old girl . . . Teague’s ear for dialogue and natural poetic narrative shine . . . Teague is a strong feminist penman to watch.”      


―Booklist (starred review)


“A rich, insightful, ambitiously inventive coming‐of‐age tale that will fire the imagination and capture the heart . . . The delightfully quirky details of this setting combine to create a richly textured world that readers will find difficult to leave behind, and the beautifully flawed and fully realized characters will linger long after the final page has turned.”


―Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars Top Pick

"If you've read either of Alexandra Teague's two acclaimed poetry collections, then you'll already know how fascinating her mind is, and how gifted her pen. What you might not realize—but will discover, as I did, as soon as you crack the pages of The Principles Behind Flotation—is how quickly and completely she can create an absorbing other life in an absorbing other place, how big-hearted she is, and how funny. I loved this novel and the gentle magic of the Arkansas it creates."


―Kevin Brockmeier

Check out my new recommendations of other unconventional coming-of-age stories with quirky settings!

for Bullets into Bells


​“Passionate, thoughtful, informed and persuasive, this poetry collection is art and activism in its rawest form.”

—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

“This anthology is best considered slowly, paged through with time enough to pause and reflect, to consider these truths, greater than any headline or statistic can deliver.”


—Booklist, Starred Review

“It’s remarkable when a book of poetry that is so self-contained, fulfilling its own purposes so completely, but it’s a rare event when any book can be this relevant, this useful to our social conversation.”


—American Microreviews & Interviews

“Extraordinary . . . a stunning call and response of a book.”


—The Rumpus

for Mortal Geography, winner of the 2011 California Book Award Gold Medal for Poetry

"...Even more clearly than [Elizabeth] Bishop... Teague alters poetic forms as part of a broader interrogation of structures and their visual representation, maps. Because while Mortal Geography does function as a kind of traveler's notebook, it is more importantly an exploration of syntax in all its forms—the assumptions of English grammar, the intervals of time, the sequence of the human genome, latitudes and longitudes, and, of course, forms of verse. Her work may be in dialogue with Bishop's, but it is broadly and unquestionably contemporary" 

― Kristin Black, The Rumpus

Work Samples


newer poems

"The Horse That Threw Me" from The Missouri Review, Fall 2022

"Field Blocks" from Blackbird, Fall 2022

"'My Country 'Tis of Thee' (arranged for Brazen Bull)" from, Letter to America, Spring 2019

"Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" from Poetry Northwest, Spring 2018

"America Hepatomancy" from Tin House, Fall 2017, republished on

excerpt from "America the Beautiful: Thriftstore," which Sebastian Suarez-Solis used as program notes for String Quartet 1, Summer 2022


"Perfect Storms" from The Common, Fall 2022

videos of readings

Alaska Quarterly Review benefit reading, with Nicky Beer and Mary Peelen:

Sunday, April 2021 

Crowdcast reading for Skylight Books, L.A., with Lory Bedikian, Brittany Ackerman,

and Kristen Millares Young: July 2020 

Sneak-peek reading, Book People of Moscow: Spring 2015 


from Or What We'll Call Desire

"Matroyshka as Madness" from Copper Nickel, Spring 2016, republished on Verse Daily

"Ofelia Has Not Seen Even One of the Seven Wonders of the World, and People Keep Making New Lists" winner of the Missouri Review Editor's Prize


from The Wise and Foolish Builders

"Transcontinental" from Willow Springs

"Winchester .351 High-Power Self-Loading Rifle" from Redux, originally published in 32 Poems

from Mortal Geography

"Adjectives of Order" 

"Language Lessons"



Alexandra Teague is most recently the author of Spinning Tea Cups: A Mythical American Memoir (Oregon State University Press, 2023). Her first book of poetry, Mortal Geography, (Persea 2010) won the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award Gold Medal for Poetry. Her second book, The Wise and Foolish Builders (Persea 2015), was written and researched in part thanks to a 2011 NEA fellowship. Her third book of poetry, Or What We'll Call Desire, was published by Persea in August 2019. Persea will publish her fourth poetry collection, [ominous music intensifying], in October 2024. 


Alexandra's first novel, The Principles Behind Flotation, was published by Skyhorse in 2017, and came out in paperback in 2019. She is also, with Brian Clements and Dean Rader, editor of the anthology Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence (Beacon 2017), and, with Elizabeth Bradfield and Miller Oberman, of the anthology Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic and Artistic Collaboration (Provincetown Arts Press 2022). 


Alexandra was awarded a 2019 Civitella Ranieri Foundation fellowship. She was previously the recipient of the 2014 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize, a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a 2006-2008 Stegner Fellowship at Stanford. After living, studying, and teaching in states including Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, and California, she is currently a professor in, and co-director of, University of Idaho's MFA program, and an editor for Broadsided Press. She is also a founding member of the interdisciplinary arts BASK Collective. She lives in Moscow, Idaho, with her husband, the musician and composer Dylan Champagne. 



For readings and other bookings or correspondence, please use my University of Idaho faculty email or contact me here: 

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