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Toward Forgiveness began with the "Poetry of Forgiveness Workshop and Anthology Project," which catalyzed participants' stirring and personal revelations, cathartic sharing, and original poems, with ripples of those heartfelt dialogues spreading out across the Island's flowing poetry venues.... Ninety-nine poets, including five Long Island poet laureates are in this moving and important anthology.... If anger and revenge are inherent in our psyches, ... these poems are testaments that the thirst and strength for forgiveness are inherent in our psyches, too, and the heroism of world peace is inherent in each ordinary human heart (from the Preface, Gayl Teller).
"Forgive and forget" may work for some, but for others it is just alliterative nonsense. The poems in this anthology, lovingly and giftedly edited by Gayl Teller, range in emotion from therapeutic to spiritual, from humorous to enraged. This is a rare chance to read through a true spectrum--a veritable textbook--of human emotions (Dr. David Axelrod).
This project is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. The Decentralization Program is administered by the Huntington Arts Council, Inc.
San Diego Poets Press, 1989
These poems are rich and full, dense with life as it is lived by a daughter, wife, mother, woman, poet. Ranging from her son's pull-over sweater to the structure of the universe, with stops on the way for politics and current events, her vision is broad and deep, informed by compassion for the human condition and salted by irony and wry wit. She is prodigal with language, as if there never could be an end to her treasure-hoard of words, perhaps because she so often distills a Russian-novel's-worth of family love-hate relations into poems of half a dozen pages each...Her diction and rhythms are as varied as her subjects and forms, ranging from the colloquial to the musical, from the narrative to the lyric voice. It is a great pleasure to see Gayl Teller emerge.
Founding Editor, Spring
The poems are always under the poet's control. The clue to the idea of the poems is in the volume's title--especially the word intersection. Things come and go; Teller acknowledges them and directs them.... With their connections and movements, the poems are complex. For Teller, intersections are places of the fullness and meaning of life.
The Small Press Book Review
Gayl Teller's stunning collection of 45 powerful poems is on the whole about close relatives, but most reflective of life in a complicated family of rugged individuals.... Much is metaphor, competent, well deserving of reading.... I enthusiastically recommend this book.
Each word is just the right word, the shapes are in the right geometrical forms.... The book contains award-winning poems.... With patience the shield drops and the reality punctures.
Woman Library Workers Journal
These poems have much to offer the reader.... All of the poems are filled with a crush of images and events. It is a multiplicity the poet uses in the search for a unifying center.... Gayl Teller is working from an unusually clear philosophical point of view which gives her book substance.
Long Island Poetry Collective Newsletter
Teller's work resists characterization because of her flexibility.... Here is a voice of exploration and wonder, able to find things to write about in a dinner being made or the end of a Jewish life or the structure of the universe. Her portraits of tangled emotional family lives are done with surgical skill, encapsulating all the past interactions between people into just a few lines. Strong and simple works worth reading.
Mellen Poetry Press, 1996
Shorehaven Beach Club was a summer recreational facility, in the Bronx of New York City, from the early fifties through the seventies. Along with her family, friends, and their families, Gayl teller was a member there for twenty-five years, beginning when she was six years old till her son was six years old. She met her husband there when she was only thirteen. In these lyric poems, Shorehaven provides a lasting sense of community and extended family. But it reveals a human haven, full of the ordinary struggles for meaningful relationships and activities while the turbulence of the Vietnam War and the civil rights and women's movements passed with members through the Shorehaven gates. While Shorehaven was being reconstructed into a complex of townhouses under the same name, Gayl Teller began writing about that special spot we each have, that internalized place of ghostly shadows and enduring sunlight we return to again and again, as the very grit of a loved place suffuses through the bloodstream for a lifetime, that place where present and past are simultaneous.
Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Prize, 1997
Premier Poets Chapbook Series: 19, 2001
Plain View Press, 2003
These poems provide entrance to a powerful soul. They carry the impact of the difficult and heighterned task of being fully alive and open.
Blue Light Press Publisher;
Author of Blackberries in the Dream House
Gayl Teller could not have chosen a more apt title than One Small Kindness for her provocative qnd evocative book. In some of her most characteristic pieces she shows how small acts of compassion can have large reverberations in people's lives. Again and again, she focuses upon the moment when one life reaches out to another, a moment that makes a world of difference.... She adroitly employs concepts and terminology drawn from philosophy and the sciences. " The Biology Lesson," based on an experience in the laboratory, is a riveting poem which readers could not forget even if they wanted to. Packed with memorable characters and events, One Small Kindness is a mind-stretching, sometimes heart-wrenching book which offers us all an education in empathy.
--Dr. Alfred Dorn
World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets
Zesty, ebullient, capacious, and even wise, Gayl Teller's poems revel in the palpable details of a vivacious woman's family life, complete with aging parents, a long marriage,, children, uncles, and aunts. Teller aims each of her poems straight at the fully lived moment, which she believes can be achieved despite grim realities--and perhaps because of them. One Small Kindness memorializes those benign moments of love that never make the news, but lay a deep foundation for well being.
Author of Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems
With One Small Kindness, Gayl Teller has produced a book of great strength and tenderness, emotion's lyrics that focus on family, marriage, motherhood, the intelligent connections among them--and with life, love, and death. The poems start with local imagery--"the bounty of familiarity,'' as she aptly calls it--and extend from the kitchen and dining table out to the often hurting world, to Kosovo, say, and East Africa, as well as a hospital room where her father struggles inside his languishing body. These elements (both inner and outer) come together in "the humming white noise of wholeness.'' The book is immense with kindness and poetic skill, starting with the wonderful " Ulysses and Child." One Small Kindness is "not about somber light,''as she writes in the opening poem, but ''belief in horizon again.'' I hope readers young and old will find their way to its penetrating sensitivity. When it comes to the human condition as fertilizer for poetry, Ms. Teller is a modern alchemist.
Editor, The Newport Review
Author of Posting the Watch
In spite of all contrary evidence:History's ''bloody face," the Nazi death camps, the humiliating suffering of the aged--one's father, mother or sweet uncle Phil, the licensed global madness of war and terrorism, Gayl Teller insists our journey is still best articulated in Martin Buber's hushed prayer: " Time, Space:Crystalizations of God." The volume's title poem, becomes prism, angle of vision through which to read, indeed, take to heart, such a book. With the neighbor in the modest poem carrying his lame, arthritic, aging Yorkshire, we move with the poet, "into deep dark/with what matters." In such "small" but deeply human exchanges of "kindness"--and I recall again and again the poet John Ciardi--we simply engage "the little that all is." Gayl Teller remains for me, then, such a poet, of small things made visible, made sacramental. And her voice, distinct and expansive, that very register to which her music is tuned, is bold and certain enough to encompass music of the Old Testament psalms, as in "The Bigger Family" ...For in Gayl Teller's poetry, the reader's ear hears what the eye has seen. Her total, unflinching immersion into the things of this world--often that bridge between the terrible and the tender--becomes ours; we return tinctured by life's very pain and joy...And again, in spite of all life's contrary evidence, there is a degree of " deliverance," indeed, transcendence. In " The Bigger Family ," the volume's most ambitious poem, stitch by humanly poignant stitch, we arrive at a hard-earned epiphany, with "these lover's divining rods/twisting and dipping into each other/feeling for fluidity, Jew into Buddhist, Buddhist /into Jew, black into white, white into black/Russian into Italian..." And then final victory and deliverance, located in the "interlinked fingers seeking to divine that sourceful current,/ of refugees on a long, long journey home." She has found the Way, not unlike the prayer at eventide.
Consulting Editor, The Seventh Quarry;
Author of Sweeter than Vivaldi
Lyrical Fiesta:A Poetry Festival in Print (Fine Arts Press, 1985)
Bronx Accent: A Literary and Pictorial History of the Borough (Rutgers University Press, 2000)
Harmony (World Congress of Poets for Poetry Research and Recitation, Seoul, Korea & NY, 2004)--Silla Gold Crown World Peace Literature Prize
For Loving Precious Beast (Purple Sage Press, 2006)
Songs of Seasoned Women (Quadrasoul, 2007)
Long Island Sounds:(The North Sea Poetry Scene, 2008, 2009, 2010)
Paumanok:Poetry and Pictures of Long Island (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009)
Toward Forgiveness (Writers Ink Press, 2011)
Whispers and Shouts (Local Gems, 2012)
Paumanok Interwoven (Island Sound Press, 2013)
The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry (Ajmer, India: ARAWLII--Academy of' 'raite*(s) World Literati, 2014)
Poet Lore, Newsday, Paterson Literary Review, The Seventh Quarry:Swansea Poetry Magazine (Wales), Phoebe,
The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, The South Coast Poetry Journal, Spring:The
Journal of the EE Cummings Society, Performance Poets Association
Literary Review, The Connecticut Writer, Dominion Review, The Newport
Review, Hudson Valley Echoes, Long Island Quarterly, Atom Mind, Half
Tones to Jubilee, Crone's Nest, Poetry in Performance (Annual Spring Poetry Festival, City College), Caesura,
Dog River Review, Phoebus, Pikestaff Forum, Wyoming:The Hub of the
Wheel, Asbestos, Long Island Sounds, Freshet, Central Conference of
American Rabbis Journal, Praxis: Gender and Cultural Critiques,
Poetrybay: Long Island Quarterly, Literary House Review: Skyline, Poem,
Bards Annual, Nassau County Poet Laureate Society Review
"Fusion and Fire" Review of Selected and New Poems, 1980-90 by Kathleen Iddings. Small Press Review, November 1991.
"Dark Theaters" Review of The Counting of Grains by Joan LaBombard (Winner of 1989 American Book Series) and Yarrow Field by Regina McBride (Winner of 1990 American Book Series. Small Press Review, April 1992.
"Luminous Shadows" Review of The Only Cure I Know by Charles Atkinson and Hometown, USA by Michael Cleary (American Book Series Winners, 1991-2).
"Living Journey" Review of The Winter Watch of the Leaves by Joan LaBombard. Small Press Review, September 1993.
"Poetry's Inebriate Freedom" Review of Someone Had to Live by Kevin Griffith. Small Press Review, November 1994.
"A Stay Against the Demons" Review of Walpurgis Nights by Joan Cofrancesco. Small Press Review, January 1994.
"The Conscious Pilot" Review of Look for a Field to Land by Elaine Preston. Small Press Review, accepted for publication.
"The Light Between lens and Shadow" Review of From May Sarton's Well, Selection and Photographs by Edith Royce Schade. Small Press Review, accepted for publication.
"Variations on the Mask" Review of The Garden Where All Loves End by Melissa Morphew and Spare Change by Kevin Pilkington. Small Press Review, January-February 1998.
"Resist Distance" Review of Rings of Saturn by Kathleen Iddings. Small Press Review, September-October 1998.
"In the Moment" Review of Cat bones in the Tree by Joan Cofrancesco. Small Press Review, November-December 1998.
"A Bond by Blue Coincidence" Review of The Poetry of Cornelius Eady. Poetry Bay, Online Poetry Magazine, 2000.
Review of Crazy Jane by Pat Falk. Book/Mark, Winter-Spring 2010.