"passionate, quirky, righteously outraged. . .
Teague. . . makes her long sentences into exuberant pageants, part sex appeal, part enduring outrage, and by no means devoid of comedy. . ."
--Stephanie Burt, The New York Times
This heartrending and darkly playful new collection by Alexandra Teague tries to understand the edges of self in a patriarchal culture and in relation to a family history of mental illness and loss. In poems that mix high art and popular culture (from classical Greek statues to giant plaster artichokes, Cubism to Freudian Disney dolls), Teague interweaves self-reflection with the stories and lives of mythic and historic female figures, such as the dangerous-wise witch Baba Yaga and early-20th-century sculptors’ model Audrey Munson--calling across time and place to explore desire, grief, and the representation and misrepresentation of the female form.
“A book of wonders and a book of wondering, this is Alexandra Teague’s most ambitious, accomplished, and intimate book yet. It probes deep into the ongoing experience of identity and the transformational powers that grief and anger do and do not have. Teague’s innovative imaginings take us thrillingly close to the ways history and myth continually place and displace each other. She turns still life into carousel, end times into art.”
—Mary Szybist, winner of The National Book Award
A verse exploration of American progress and its consequences, featuring rifle heiress Sarah Winchester and her unsettling Mystery House, with cameos by Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and many other fascinating figures.
"Whether tackling a never-completed house or westward expansion, Teague explores our insatiable drive for more, the exhilaration of the hunt, and the haunting emptiness of innumerable empty rooms and unrealized dreams, suggesting there is always more to take, leave behind, or never own. The mystery of the process of expansion and the state of never having enough are expertly envisioned and tested in Teague’s powerful, relevant poems, which give us a glimpse of our past and mirror our present."
— Janet St. John, ALA Booklist
“What a fascinating book—a brilliantly deft weave of curious history, and haunting air, ‘thickened with a churn of voices.’ What vivid poems could feel more prescient in our troubles times?”
—Naomi Shihab Nye
“In poems of startling formal range and remarkable intimacy, Alexandra Teague creates a world as full of surprises as the Winchester Mystery House it chronicles.... This book challenges us to consider the house we’ve built together and how we’ll ever find our way outside of it again.”
Winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry& 2011 California Book Award Gold Medal in Poetry
Drawing on sources as varied as ESL classroom discussions, a colonial travelogue, and the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, Alexandra Teague explores how language alternately empowers and fails us in this smart, searching, and accessible debut.
"...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
“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 coming-of-age summer on the shores of a vast and inexplicable Ozark sea. A quirky town populated by a cast of eccentric and unforgettable characters. Beautifully written—equal parts hilarious and poignant—this insightful, and stunningly imaginative, novel is a miracle in itself.”
—Skip Horack, author of The Southern Cross
"Slyly funny and full of wonder, The Principles Behind Flotation sails us out on the sea of first love with heart-breaking tenderness, wile, and wit. A.Z. is a character whose frankness and courage are matched only by her moments of intimate vulnerability. Teague navigates the coming-of-age currents with intelligence and compassion, reminding us that we’ve all been in that strange place of metamorphoses, where nothing is as it seems."
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men
"Teague deftly captures like a brain-scan in prose the jittery loping rhythms of adolescent yearning—all turbulent and gut-felt and intensely right now. A.Z. McKinney is a wonderful creation, and Alexandra Teague is a wondrous writer."
—Daniel Orozco, author of Orientation: And Other Stories
A powerful call to end American gun violence from celebrated poets and those most impacted.
“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
“Extraordinary . . . a stunning call and response of a book.”