Today marks second installment of an exciting project at All Things Considered. Each month we'll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's news. Last month we invited Tracy K. Smith to join us.
This month we're talking to Craig Morgan Teicher. He is a poet, critic and freelance writer. He is the author of Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems, as well as a collection of short stories and fables called Cradle Book.
After Teicher spent some time writing, he sat down with Melissa Block to talk about the poem — and the process. He was inspired, he said, by a story in the news about Google. Rumor has it that the company plans to create eyeglasses that have smartphone capabilities.
"I love the Internet," Teicher explained. "I walk around with an iPad everywhere I go. But the idea of the Internet superimposed on what you see really changes the stakes. It's kind of creepy."
Teicher also explained how he structured his poem. "I ended up writing in a form called a villanelle," he said. "The first and third lines are repeated as the last lines of the succeeding stanzas through the rest of the poem."
The form helped him come to terms with his subject. "It's about convincing yourself of something and repeating something — trying to get over a point that you can't quite get over," Teicher said.
It was also a way to find some order in the midst of a hectic day. "It's a form that I happen to feel pretty comfortable with and so it helped me organize the process of going from nothing to poem in a couple of hours."
This was a challenging task, but Teicher called it a fun one. And he was happy with the result.
"Normally I wouldn't have even shown this to my wife yet," Teicher told Block. "But it was a really fun thing to get to do, and I'm grateful to get to do it. I hope people like the poem."
As for whether he liked it? "Oh yeah," said Teicher. "I think I'll keep it. I'm happy with it."
Through The Google Glasses: A Villanelle
BY CRAIG MORGAN TEICHER
the actual world merely the consequence
of the search terms I supply.
Looking up, I see information in the sky:
not just birds but related stories and comments
from readers of the Internet before my eye,
or between it and the world where I
am walking and yet at a distance,
veiled by the search terms I supply
to my glasses. I feel uplifted, high,
even, almost, uploaded. It's intense,
merging word and world in my eye.
Looking at you, glasses off, though, I feel shy —
there's so much these glasses can't enhance
about me, so much search can't supply.
But with them on I'm more than a guy
at a keyboard. I am a see-board, immense,
re-envisioning, according to the Internet in my eye,
a world, at last, that answers to the terms I supply.
All Things Considered's NewsPoet is produced and edited by Ellen Silva with production assistance from Rose Friedman.