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Ryan Teitman

 09-24-2013

 
Ryan Teitman
 
Philadelphia, 1976

A still night has its own cruel music:
           the catch of bridge cables plucked
                     by stone-scented wind; the low, bent
hum of the Delaware, rippling like a singing saw.

There are other cruelties too:
           the extra-inning double in the gap
                     that sends the summer crowd shuffling
for the parking lot. Those are the nights

when any boy would drop
           Pabst empties off the Tacony-Palmyra
                    Bridge, then watch the stars
strip off their summer dresses and dive naked

into the water. I wave from the bridge
          because maybe Lefty's pitching a gem tonight.
                     Maybe the moon's a cut fastball dropping
off the horizon. Maybe 216 strands of loose city light

stitch the sky together. Someone told me
           that the moon was made of cork
                     and leather and old bar songs
and jars of railroad sparks and braided horsehair.

But what's our city made of? Everything's been growing
           too quickly; the skyline's becoming a night
                     brighter than day. Glass-walled buildings
muscle their way up the cityscape, and I've never trusted

anything that doesn't throw a shadow. So come with
           me to the bridge. We'll watch the fireworks
                     strain into the night. We can fix their lights
into a constellation of an ox pulling down a house, then let

the spent flakes of soot settle on our eyelids
           like wafers of host dropped onto tongues,
                     so that when we open our eyes, we'll
swallow the tiny, failed bodies in every possibility of light.

 

Vespers

Peel an orange, set
a candle in the rind-

let the smoke melt
the pith into an oil

sweeter than palm.
Before we die,

we taste almonds;
we wake to a lover

slipping a tongue
in our ear;

we confess our sins
in hushed breath

to slats
of grated light.

Dab the oil on the forgotten
parts of yourself:

the eyelid's creases,
the finger's rungs,

the patch of jawbone
hidden by the earlobe.

Saints forget themselves
in their sufferings,

so we recite their names
to remind them

how pain can be pronounced:
oilfield, blood orange, watercress.

Nothing we believe in
mixes: it sifts

the liquor from lime, deposits
drops of sweat

that slide like rosary beads:
a grease that washes everything

clean but us.
Take the candle wax-

spread it on
your lover's lips. Faith

is tasting flesh
through all coverings-

through organ pipe,
through silk,

through our thin skin that keeps
all we are from spilling out.

 

The Cabinet of Things Swallowed

At the medical museum, we fourth-graders crowd around the oddities: the tiny, jarred fetus turning, almost imperceptibly, like the rotation of an infant moon; the model of a syphilitic eye, sagging like the cut fig my father pushed around his plate at breakfast as he read this morning's paper.

Betsy Wilcox follows me from exhibit to exhibit. When she sees the human horn display-a taut, wax face with a stalk like a Black Locust limb sprouting from the forehead-she grabs a fistful of my shirt and buries her face in my chest.

The glass cases of the museum showcase the horror of what our bodies can become. Betsy trails me closely, as we pass the hundreds of fleshy pounds of the world's largest colon, curled and asleep like some biblical slug.

We come to a wooden cabinet with long, thin drawers. The sign reads: "Things Swallowed." I slide out the top drawer to find what I expected: wheat pennies, safety pins, suit buttons, all ranked and filed and labeled with faded script. I close that drawer and open the next. It holds larger treasures: threaded needles, thimbles fuzzed over with rust, fan-shaped seashells, a book of matches from a New York bar.

The items are bigger in each new drawer. The next has a woman's black glove with gold thread tracing the wrist, a light bulb, and a silver pocket watch, still ticking like a tiny robin's heart. The next: a gold collection plate from a Presbyterian church, a red-glazed salt cellar.

I pull open the second-to-last drawer, where there is a single claw hammer. The head is dull black; the handle's wood is wrapped with the stains of fingerprints.

There is one drawer left. "Don't," Betsy says, as I reach for the handle. And in her wide, wet eyes, I can barely see the reflection of the cloud-white marble I swallowed on my fourth birthday.

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Poems - Bio - Reviews - Interviews - Reading

Ryan Teitman is the author of the poetry collection Litany for the City (BOA Editions, 2012), winner of the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize. He received his BA from Penn State University and worked as a newspaper reporter in and around Philadelphia before receiving an MFA and MA from Indiana University. His poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, and The Southern Review, among other publications, and his awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship.

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Litany for the City by Ryan Teitman Reviewed by Michelle Salcido, first published by The Rumpus

How well can we ever know the place we live in—the house, the neighborhood, the city, the moment? Is it possible to comprehend the way light, history, pianos, hawks, desire, trains, cruelty, red, Ben Franklin, faith, and baseball intersect in each fleeting second to create a place and time so particular in details it will never be repeated? In his award winning debut collection, Litany for the City, Ryan Teitman attempts a delicate and ambitious mapping of the self, the city, and the infinite connections that define and defy where one ends and the other begins. Jane Hirshfield selected Litany for the City as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. In her foreword, Hirshfield writes, “This is Ryan Teitman’s sustenance: denying no part of what it is to live on this earth.” Teitman’s litany is an act of both praise and of acute awareness of the beauty in the cities around and inside us.

Teitman begins his book in a solid time and place, establishing authority and giving readers a touchstone for the imaginative and often surreal qualities of the poems to come. The first poem, “Philadelphia, 1976,” grounds us in the particular. We enter Philadelphia on a “still night,” join a crowd of baseball fans “shuffling / for the parking lot.” We stand on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge staring at the moon and listen to a speaker who suggests:

Maybe the moon’s a cut fastball dropping
off the horizon. Maybe 216 strands of loose city light
stitch the sky together. Someone told me
that the moon was made of cork
and jars of railroad sparks and braided horsehair.
But what’s our city made of?
and leather and old bar songs

This is the question that guides the rest of the book, the question that Teitman answers in carefully crafted poems layering imagery, language, and repetition that function almost like those anatomical transparencies from old encyclopedias where the first page showed a skeleton, then the next page layered the muscles, followed by the organs, the veins, and skin. Teitman’s mapping of the physical city, its history, and the individual lives of its inhabitants and visitors is a complex emotional matrix of these transparencies. He writes, “Give me an almanac / listing all the old places / my father flew his kite.” We see the depth of the connections and there comes a point where they blend together—inner and outer stitched in a vocabulary of joining that Teitman creates with each poem. For example, in “Hard Light Through Hemlock,” we see images of pianos—“My father’s hands / at the piano pushed / against the muscles / of the keys” and “We returned to find / an old upright slumped / and half-buried by snow / like a fat doe shot / and forgotten.” A few poems later, in “Dear Doctor Franklin,” the image returns as an echo, a simile:

All my life I’ve tried to learn
what digs into our bones,
what uncouples voice
from desire and sets it
out to pasture like the old
piano left in the alley,
now filled with apple skins
and cat shit and wet copies
of the Daily News.

This repetition and layering is part of the litany that moves through not only individual poems, but the book as a whole. Everything returns—music, light, the moon, museums, trains, fire, newspapers, statues, bells—always at a new angle, sometimes literal, sometimes figurative, sometimes in the past, sometimes inside us. Teitman uses the form of the litany to both reinforce these connections and to accumulate imagery and emotion as he tries to answer that question: “But what’s our city made of?” In “Cathedrals,” he ends with a section of anaphora in short lines:

There’s a cathedral
built from the leg bones
of draft horses and saints.
A cathedral of birds
scaffolding the sky.
A cathedral of bodies
opening to each other
on beds smooth as altars.
A cathedral of hands
unbuttoning the skin
of every prayer
within reach.

Teitman maps the way only a poet can map, sketching in then blurring out the borders between inner and outer with each line. It is the poetic act of noticing that finds cathedrals everywhere. And language, repetition, is what holds it all together.

By the time we reach the final section of the book, “Metropolitan Suite,” it is clear that Teitman has moved beyond a particular city and a particular night. The poems are short untitled paragraphs tangled with imagery. This form literalizes the impossibility of clearly marking borders, almost as if that mapmaker has made countless maps of the city and all of them are true and all of them lead to and depend upon each other, and, most significantly, we need each one to discover where we are and where we are going. We might find ourselves anywhere—outside the Tube, in the elevator of the Empire State Building, eating lunch in Jaffa, or at a cocktail party where “each cube of ice has a hummingbird heart frozen in its center.” We might end up in “cold: the city that stills us all, with its slow-moving trains and its arctic-brilliant lights.” We come to understand that no matter where we are, we are in it: “City of anvils. City of rotten figs. City whose ground shakes like a bedsheet on the laundry line. City of heartflies. City like a doe’s tail snagged by thistle….”

This book has a heart that goes beyond the strength of its crafting or imagery. It reminds us of what only poetry can do. Hirshfield writes, “its heart is in the litany: in the persevering faith that words under pressure can charge and change language to something more than itself.” Read this book to renew that faith in words and in the abiding truth that there is nothing under the sky unworthy of our whole attention and fervent praise.

 

Gabe Johnson Reviews Ryan Teitman's "Litany for the City" first published by Mary: A Journal of New Writing  

Ryan Teitman’s impressive debut, Litany for the City is a collection highlighted by an intense focus on detail, on objects and snapshot moments that contain both elegy and exaltation. The book is split into three sections, formally and thematically linked. In each Teitman takes the city as his prime subject, in a methodical exploration of the urban. The city he concerns himself with is both quite personal and shapeless, confronting simultaneously the speaker’s connections with memory and the concrete as well as the macrocosm, the idea and implications of metropolis. This is a delicate and courageous line to tread, and Teitman almost always walks it with grace and alacrity – a testament to his craft. In the opening poem “Philadelphia, 1976” he demonstrates how fluidly he can move from micro to macro, writing:
 
      “Those are the nights
      when any boy would drop
      Pabst empties off the Tacony-Palmyra
      Bridge, then watch the stars
      strip off their summer dresses and dive naked
      into the water. I wave from the bridge
      because maybe Lefty’s pitching a gem tonight.”
 
      and just a couple of lines later:
 
      “But what’s our city made of? Everything’s been growing
      too quickly; the skyline’s becoming a night
      brighter than day.”

It’s also important to note that this is one of very few poems in his book where a place is explicitly named. Teitman’s city is not one in particular, but as his title implies, an exploration of all cities. In fact as the book progresses into his prose poem series “Metropolitan Suite”, the cities mentioned become so diverse and frequent that the reader is dizzy, pulled from London to Haifa to Moscow and New York within single poems. 

It quickly becomes clear reading this collection that the ‘litany’ in the title is as important an element as the ‘city. Teitman uses this in both meanings of the word, invoking both the listing of things as well as prayer. It would certainly be a failure to discuss this book without paying attention to the vibrant religious themes that work their way artfully through the text. In fact this sense of the importance and necessity of prayer drew me back to the title, and specifically to the choice of preposition ‘for’. In many ways this is a book of devotion, a set of prayers to a world that is both ugly and beautiful—full of sorrow, joy and the bizarre. Teitman treats his religious (ostensibly Catholic) material with a subtle grace and softness, often using Biblical references to enhance symbolic moments in his poems. One of the most powerful poems in this collection, “Ephesians”, is a great example of this. He echoes the epistolary form, beginning his prose poem with an address to a Beloved, but the poem is concerned with much stranger details. It explains through fairly linear narrative a story about the ‘Beloved’ letting themselves be covered in bees that crawl and die inside her mouth. It’s a poem that really works on its own, with intense and well-crafted images that work powerfully together. However it was upon further research into the Biblical history that the poem became even more compelling for me. Not only is a quote from Ephesians included in the text (“wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead”), but as I found out, the citizens of Ephesus during Roman times worshipped a version of Artemis they symbolized through bees. This kind of historical curiosity about present and ancient cities helps create a rich and powerful text, without sacrificing the artistry of the poetry. This balance is well maintained throughout the book, a very impressive feat for a debuting author, allowing him to slip in lines like this one from “Dear Doctor Franklin”:
 
      “…how Italian statues

     had no toes, because pilgrims
     can’t keep their hands

     from stretching out to touch
     something holy, forgetting

     that we carry parts of everything
     away with us.”
 
The attention to strange details in “Ephesians” is also one of Teitman’s strengths throughout the book as in moments such as:

“You opened your mouth and let the doctor reach in with pliers, let him pull one bee after another from under your swollen tongue, and let him hold each corpse – glistened with spit – up to the windowpane, before dropping it in a jar at your bedside. You carried that jar with you always, half-filled with their dried bodies, like kernels of corn.”

As I worked my way through Litany for the City, it also became clear that a major part of the litany is in this focus on the minute details. Images and objects reoccur from one poem to the next: an old piano, cathedrals, birds and oranges. These unite the speakers and the settings, creating a very stable environment for the reader to work through. Another access point to the litany is through form. Teitman appears most comfortable (though not exclusively so) working in either sparse couplets or slim single-stanza blocks. Both of these fit his subjects, and do some of the work of creating the litany he evokes in his title. The couplets link objects together intimately as in “Vespers”:
 
      “Peel an orange, set
      a candle in the rind—
 
      let the smoke melt
      the pit into an oil
 
      sweeter than palm.
      Before we die,
 
      we taste almonds;
      we wake to a lover”,
 
While the single stanzas create the list, a movement that turns fluidly from one moment to the next. Teitman displays a sharp eye in terms of craft that is impressive for a first book, with close attention to line, repetition and a concentrated economy of language. As mentioned above, the book also includes a series of prose poems, as well as a three-poem series addressed to Benjamin Franklin. However it’s in this series, Metropolitan Suite, where Teitman finally shows some weakness. Drawn too much to the summational final line, the commentary on image, he gets away from the strengths that work in the large majority of Litany.

In “Ode, Elegy, Aubade, Psalm”, Teitman writes: “We only praise what we cannot keep” and it is with the best touch of sorrow that I reached the end of his book. This is a powerful first collection by a very promising new writer—successfully announcing what will hopefully be a long-lasting presence in contemporary poetry.

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Poems - Bio - Reviews - Interviews - Reading

An Interview with Ryan Teitman by Zachary Macholz and Andrew McFadye-Ketchum

Zachary Macholz & Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum: Your first collection of poetry is entitled Litany for the City. "Philadelphia, 1976" seems to capture the "call and response," aspect of a litany with the poem's turn: "But what's our city made of?" and the answer that follows. But a litany can also be a prayer of repetitive chant, or a list or series. Is there a particular definition of litany that most informs these poems, and how important is that concept to appreciating the collection?

Ryan Teitman: My exposure to the litany came in the Catholic church, and growing up I heard it over and over again each week at Mass. That kind of unrelenting list has a certain kind of cadence to it, one that can become almost orchestral. It has crescendos and decrescendos, and a sort of emotional arc, with a beginning, middle, and end, even though-in a certain light-it's just a list. That's the kind of sound and structure that stuck with me growing up, and one that worked its way into my poetry. That kind of feeling is something I tried to re-create in Litany for the City, both in the individual poems, and in the collection as a whole.

ZM & AMK: "Philadelphia, 1976" is presumably set sometime around the Bicentennial Celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and prominently features baseball allusions, bridges and skyscrapers, and fireworks-all very traditional images of America. After the turn, the poem ends with a metaphor where the soot from the fireworks become "like wafers of hosts dropped onto tongues." How much do you think this particular metaphor, given the historical context of the poem, informs the reader's interpretation of the rest of the poems in the collection?

RT: This poem began with me imagining my father during the Bicentennial in Philadelphia. At that time, he was about the same age as I was when I was writing this poem in graduate school. I imagined that moment as magical, almost transformative. That reflects more on my feelings of nostalgia for home while writing of the poem than the actual history of the Bicentennial, which was a much more fraught event for Philadelphia-at one point the mayor threatened to call the National Guard on protestors. I have a feeling I'll be revisiting that version of the Bicentennial in later work.

ZM & AMK: "Philadelphia, 1976" uses quatrains that begin with the first line at the margin then indent the second line and double-indent the third line before moving back to the margin in the fourth line. Describe the sense of movement you intended to instill in the poem with this arrangement. What did previous drafts look like?

RT: The previous drafts were pretty standard quatrains, and I knew they weren't working. It was just a bit too static for the kind of semi-surreal, lyric poem I was writing. So I took a page from David Kirby (who took a page from Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams and others) and staggered the indentation, which seemed to be the form that the poem wanted.

It's amazing how much difference lineation and stanzas can make. A poem that's a complete failure in couplets might be rejuvenated by putting it in quatrains. The words are the same, but it's a completely different poem! Though the words aren't really "the same." Line and stanza can't really be pulled apart so easily from the other elements of the poem-they all work together as a unit.

ZM & AMK: "Vespers," is comprised of short-lined couplets. How does the arrangement of the stanzas relate to the title? What qualities of vespers were you emulating?

RT: Vespers are the evening prayer in the Catholic canonical hours, and the short-lined couplets of the poem are meant to echo the intensified language of prayer. Really, I see prayer and poetry as similar acts-a kind of concentrated language used to get at something just past our normal, everyday understanding.

ZM & AMK: "Vespers," with its short-lined couplets and frequently end-stopped punctuation, makes use of space and punctuation to create rhythm and control breath. How important is sound/music in your poetry-both when composing it as the author, and when enjoying it as a reader? Is music something you work toward consciously?

RT: I remember learning about the respiratory system-breathing-in school. Sometimes it's a voluntary function, and sometimes it's involuntary. That's how I think of the poem's music when I write. Most often I'm not striving for a particular sound-it's when the music is lacking that I take notice. I read my poems out loud constantly as I compose, and if the poem doesn't sound right as I read, I know there's something wrong. Maybe it's the syntax or the stanza break or simply the wrong word. I'm never thinking "I need a bit of assonance here," but I do recognize when a line or stanza feels flat or clunky and needs reworking.

ZM & AMK: "The Cabinet of Things Swallowed" reads like a prose poem composed of several paragraphs. Recently I heard a fiction writer express a complete inability to understand why a poet would give up the one thing their medium has that prose doesn't-the line break. So, for all the befuddled fiction writers (and closed-minded poets) out there wondering something similar, why did this particular poem need to take this shape?

RT: I think it's a good question to ask-why would a poet give up a tool that is powerful and so identifiably poetic? We see a piece with line breaks, and we think poem. But the next question asked should be (and often isn't): what does the poet get in return for giving up those line breaks?

The answer, I think, is pressure. The poet gets the chance to take a group of words and compress them, much more than in a lineated poem. Every break is a tiny safety valve that releases a puff of pressure from a lineated poem. But if you look at the prose poems in books and literary journals, they're arranged into small blocks, like little nuggets of language. That's what you get in exchange for giving up line breaks: density. The chance to cram those words close enough together to change the language, the way time and pressure turn carbon into a diamond.

For "The Cabinet of Things Swallowed," the goal was to jam as much weirdness into as small a space as possible, to reach a critical mass of oddity.

ZM & AMK: "The Cabinet of Things Swallowed," seems more heavily musical-in terms of rhyme, near-rhyme, assonance, and alliteration-than the two poems that precede it. Is there pressure in the prose poem to heighten its other poetic qualities?

RT: I think there can be that pressure. But good prose poems are often deceptively simple in their music, leaning more heavily on their narrative strengths. The poems of Matthea Harvey and the fiction of Lydia Davis show us that-they're both masters of compressed forms.

ZM & AMK: These three featured poems each have very different line breaks, and the entire collection utilizes a myriad of different line breaks and stanza structures. How important do you consider line breaks to be relative to other formal choices? Are they at or near the top of the list when you're considering how to construct a poem on the page?

RT: Like I mentioned earlier, I don't think I can necessarily separate line and stanza from the other formal choices of the poem-everything works together. I don't think about line and stanza when I start a poem, but by the time I'm fairly well into it, it's important for me to nail down those structures. I need to find what kind of form the poem is asking for. And I really do think that-the poem wants to find the right structure. When you haven't found it yet, you can tell-the poem will let you know, and it usually isn't quiet about it.

 

Q & A with Ryan Teitman, Author of Litany for the City by Jori Fine first published by the Indiana Review

At Indiana Review, we received the fabulous chance to interview former IR poetry editor Ryan Teitman. Ryan’s poetry book Litany for the City was published in March of this year. Read on to find out what inspired Litany for the City, how it came to be published, and Ryan’s perspective on the future of literary journals.

Indiana Review: Tell us about Litany for the City. What inspired it? 

Ryan Teitman: It started out as a complicated love letter to Philadelphia. I was born there and grew up just outside the city. My whole family is from Philadelphia. I worked as a newspaper reporter there. And after I moved to Indiana for graduate school, I found I was writing about Philadelphia a lot.

But as I kept working, I started writing about cities in general. About what cities mean, how they work. The first draft of the book was very Philadelphia-centric. But then I stripped away some of the layers and found something much more interesting: an exploration of the idea of the city, with Philadelphia as my starting point.

IR: What are your favorite parts/poems of Litany for the City?

RT: My favorites change all the time, and I think that's a good thing. "Philadelphia, 1976" will always be special because it's the first poem of the book and because I wrote it all at once, in a kind of fury. "Circles" originally wasn't meant for this book; I thought of it as the beginning of something new. But after some gentle prodding by Jane Hirshfield and the editors at BOA, I was convinced that I needed a new ending poem for Litany. In the last edit, "Circles" became the new final poem, and I love the way it closes things out.

IR: How has the book been received? Do readers understand the poems in the way you intended them to be understood?

RT: I've been fortunate to have some really smart reviewers write thoughtful pieces on the book. What heartened me most wasn't that they said nice things (though that was wonderful), but that they had obviously spent a lot of time thinking deeply and critically about the book. They approached the book on its terms, not their own, which is what good reviewers do. I never conceived of Litany as an argument; I think of it as an exploration. And people seemed to build on that.

IR: Is there anything in the book that you wish you did differently? Why or why not?

RT: I'd like to think I'm a better poet now than a few years ago, so when I look at the poems in Litany, there are certainly a few lines or images that I'd like to tweak. But that's part of what I love about the book-it's not perfect. It's my first book, and hopefully not my last. There are things I could make better now because I know more and have more experience, but there's also a certain audacity that comes from being a young writer and not knowing any better. Some of the poems I love most from that book, I could have only written when I was young and didn't know any better.

IR: How did you go about getting this poetry book published?

RT: I sent my manuscript to first-book contests and presses with open submission periods. I think sent it out about 20 times. The A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions was the first place I sent the manuscript, and it was the prize that I won-when I submitted a heavily revised version a year later.

IR: How has your life/career changed since publishing Litany for the City?

RT: Publishing Litany certainly helped me to get my current job as the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College. I've moved back to Pennsylvania (my home state) and now I get to teach classes full of smart and talented students. I loved the San Francisco Bay Area, with its year-round beautiful weather and fabulous bookstores, but it's nice to be back home near my family. Juggling a full-time teaching load with writing has been a challenge, but I'm learning how to fit everything into the day.

IR: In your opinion, what does a good poem do?

RT: I think Emily Dickinson said it best: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." I've felt it too as a sledgehammer to the chest or a pinprick through the heart. I remember one moment very clearly from when I was poetry editor at IR: I was looking through a copy of The Missouri Review and the issue included a poem by Traci Brimhall called "American Pastoral." I read it, then stood up and announced to the editors and interns: "Everyone stop what you're doing and listen to this poem." They were slightly confused, but humored me. And I read them the poem. It felt important, like something they needed to know, like breaking news. I think that's what the best poems do.

IR: What was one of your favorite moments from being an IR editor?

RT: The reading for the Funk issue of IR was one of the best readings I've ever been to. Pat Rosal, Aracelis Girmay, Tyehimba Jess, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil blew the roof off the Waldon Center with their funky poems.

IR: Do you remember a time when you got really excited about a poem in IR?

RT: When I was screening for the poetry prize, I read a poem called "Brazilian Telephone" and was completely astounded by it. It was weird and beautiful and scary-a poem about a group of kids who are about to hook their friend up to a motor home battery. The poem was by Miriam Bird Greenberg and we published it in IR that year. (Poetry reprinted it, when Miriam won a Ruth Lilly Fellowship.) Miriam ended up entering the Stegner Fellowship program at the same time I did, a few years after that IR contest, and when I finally got the chance to meet her, the first thing I did was gush (maybe a bit embarrassingly) about how terrific "Brazilian Telephone" was. She and I ended up carpooling to school together.

IR: What do you think about the future of the publishing industry? Literary journals, specifically?

RT: Despite the continual announcement of the death of literary magazines, there are still publications out there that do fantastic work. The Southern Review continually impresses me with its vibrant mix of established and emerging writers. I love The Missouri Review's poetry features. Sycamore Review is a slim journal but its poems, stories, and essays pack a hefty wallop. I could name a lot more.

That said, literary journals are in danger. Many have shut down. Some have had the universities that sponsor them withdraw support. Others have had to move online. I don't know if moving print journals online is a good or bad thing yet; it's too early to tell. Of course it eliminates printing expense. And it's much easier to get work to a wide audience online. But I'm not ready to give up on the book as a work of art. Just look at what they do at Ninth Letter, and you'll see the amazing things a print journal is capable of.

Click here for an interview with Ryan Teitman at Sycamore Review

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 Poems - Bio - Reviews - Interviews - Reading

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Click here for a reading by Teitman from his book Litany for the City

 




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