Gayl Teller's Books

New From Gayl Teller in 2015

Hidden in Plainview 

A Book of Poems

ISBN: 978-1625491589, 88 pages, $18.00, softcover

Order from

teller-hiding.html via Amazon and Barnes & Noble

and publisher:

WordTech/ Cherry Grove Collections

POB 541106, Cincinnati, OH 45254-1106

Tel: 513 474 3761;

Also available from

Book Revue

313 New York Avenue, Huntington, NY 11743





 Gayl Teller's Hidden in Plainview  is a celebration and an interrogation of our mortal world, seeking glimpses of the larger truths shrouded in the earth's lovely and disturbing particulars.


 There is a marvelous humanity in all her poems--Stephen Stepanchev

 Zesty, ebullient, capacious, and wise--Molly Peacock

 She shows how small acts of compassion can have large reverberations in people's lives...A mind-stretching, heart-wrenching education in empathy--Alfred Dorn

Immense with kindness and poetic skill--Michele Cooper

Her total unflinching immersion into the things of this world--often that bridge the terrible and the tender--becomes ours--Vince Clemente

A prolific and determined voice...palpable, vivid poems...a delicate music--Mindy Kronenberg, Book/Mark

Moving poetry, extraordinary for its collective power, which deepens with each reading--Donald Wilson, Small Press Review

Her vision is broad and deep, informed by compassion for the human condition and salted by irony and a wry wit--Norman Friedman

In the search for a unifying spiritual center, a poet working from an unusually clear philosophical center--Lois Walker

Showing us harsh truths and ways we can important American poet--David Axelrod

One grows out of breath and admiration for this wise and touching poet whose vibrant language reverberates in memory--Colette Inez

A fine-tuned seismograph that registers the small changes and large-scale upheavals of the human condition--Charles Ades Fishman

She conjures up, to quote Dylan Thomas, 'the colour of saying' in poems that really add to one's existence and experience--Peter Thabit Jones


Reviewer's Bookwatch: April 2016

James A. Cox, Editor-In-Chief

Midwest Book Review

Reviewer's Choice


Hidden in Plainview is the second collection of poems I've read by poet Gayl Teller, former Nassau County Poet Laureate and the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association 2016 LI Poet of the Year. I was saddened to know that once I began reading the poems, there would have to be an ending. This feeling struck me more than once during the reading.                  

Gayl Teller is a poet whose life experiences are so vast and real, they put you in the center of a well-lived life. Hers is a study of her locality, Plainview, NY, and its people and various cultures of influence. She paints a vista teeming with stories that are compelling; made me twist and turn with the sense of knowing: yes, these observations and insights are the essense of community! But it's the humanity in her work and her giant empathy that are truly remarkable. Take, for example, "Three Weavers," invoking the spirit's generosity and solitary goodness; "Bike Ride," a subtle introduction of Plainview through wise eyes and the heartbeat of knowing. The poems challenged me in ways that made me better because of them. And then there are the tour de force poems, where words seem to drop from out of the sky and onto the page, and the energy and rhthym so dizzying and wondrous, I could levitate: "Memorial Day," "At an F.A. Meeting." And then there are fun poems. How about this line in "Dr. Tickles Makes Palace Calls"--"And Dr. Tickles/ on his shoe-cell in his office." What a force of nature Gayl Teller is! --Denis Gray



New From Gayl Teller in 2011

Toward Forgiveness: An Anthology of Poems

Edited by Gayl Teller

Nassau County Poet Laureate, 2009-2011



Writers Ink Press, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-925062-28-4

Paper: 272 pages; $20 + $4 Shipping & Handling

Book Orders: Writers Unlimited Agency Inc.

                         1104 Jacaranda Avenue                

                          Daytona Beach, FL 32118

                                (386) 492 2409




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.


New From Gayl Teller in July 2010
Inside the Embrace

WordTech/Cherry Grove, 2010

Ordering Information:

Order Inside the Embrace from

ISBN 9781934999998, 100 pages, $18.00, paper. Mail order please add $5.00 for S&H

Cherry Grove Collections, POB 541106, Cincinnati, OH 45254-1106

Tel: (513) 474 3761  Fax: (513) 474 9034

Web:  Questions? Email Lori at


Praise for Inside the Embrace

Gayl Teller's poems are like "Learning the Facts," showing us both harsh truths and ways we can cope with them. Together, they bring us Inside the Embrace of an important American poet.
                                 --Dr. David Axelrod
                           Suffolk County Poet Laureate, 2007-09                                                                       
In Teller's new collection we are offered gritty, inventive and compassionate poems that celebrate private and public worlds. The 9/11 calamity of an attack on the Pentagon is set against Maxine's mandolin whose music sends out herbal scents. The heady joy of a grandchild effervesces in a series of deftly made triads. Sharply focused, loneliness takes the field as the poet eavesdrops on drifting cell phone chatter. Elsewhere, a history of the horse weaves into a rich and intricate narrative. One grows out of breath with admiration for this wise and touching poet whose vibrant language reverberates in memory.
                         --Colette Inez
                            Author of Spinoza Doesn't Come Here Anymore
Gayl Teller's poetry shows a real sense of commitment to language and its possibilities within a poem. Her deep humanity is as apparent as her careful craftsmanship. Her work is intelligent, sensitive and open. One comes away with a true feeling of being engaged in her world, her vision and her themes. She conjures up, to quote Dylan Thomas, "the colour of saying" in poems that really add to one's own existence and experience.
                         --Peter Thabit Jones
                            Poet and Editor of The Seventh Quarry, Swansea Poetry Magazine
At their best, as in "Silently and Ceaselessly" and "Jasmine," Gayl Teller's passionate, densely layered, and often tender poems register the always difficult, sometimes awkward or comic, and frequently turbulent events that mark our lifelong journey from the airy lightness and innocence of childhood to the darker and heavier world of adult responsibility, disillusionment, and regret. Inside the Embrace is like a fine-tuned seismograph that registers the small changes and large-scale upheavals of the human condition.
                           --Charles Ades Fishman
                              Editor, Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust
                              Author, Chopin's Piano, Country of Memory, & other books
The poems of Gayl Teller's Inside the Embrace move deftly and briskly through their subject, gathering all aspects of the world into their warm embrace. There's a lot of humor, tinged with knowingness and sometimes sadness, in Gayl Teller's Inside the Embrace. Teller's poems move, in their unobtrusive, quiet fashion, through a broad range of subjects, engaging them with the same wry sensibility.
"Morning" is one such poem:
It comes like a call from someone in the past,
some old friend we'd forgotten on a swing
in memory, sweeping us into those striations
of rose and gold, hints of purple pulling us
through some sorrowful vortex, as she pumps,
and we begin to stir up those subtler hues,
little vibrancies we'd learned from her,
and from so many others we'd met along the way,
as we are so much more than our given primaries,
as our people palette can save us our lives,
and just as our small eyes can contain
that vastness of sky, I tell you, it's that beautiful,
this little shift in perspective, to forgive.
"This little shift in perspective" is quietly and nicely stated.
                            --Kevin Walzer
                              Poetry Editor, WordTech Communications
Poetry at its Best
If you wish to be stunned by the possibilities of poetry, read Gayl Teller's Inside the Embrace. If you wish to be touched by a heart and soul and mind that go beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary, this collection of poetry is for you. 
Begin with "Here in the Wind," and by the time you finish reading the poem, you won't know what hit you--what storm was brewing in Ms. Teller's telling and weaving of story, of pathos, beauty, and forgiveness. But what really stopped me in my tracks midway through the book was "Horse." How did Ms. Teller do it, make such a creation, this 21-page paean to her genius! To read it is to never forget it. I know I haven't, and I've read it at least five times! It's nice to know that such a poet exists.
                                         --Denis Gray
                               Author of Lucky, a novel
Review by Mindy Kronenberg
(Book/Mark Quarterly Small Press Review, Fall 2010/ Winter 2011)
Inside the Embrace, the most recent book by Nassau County Poet Laureate Gayl Teller, envelops the reader with poems that deftly juxtapose scenarios of the human dynamic with the forces of nature. Teller's descriptive narratives are both observant and embedded with empathy. She capably shares moments of personal triumph and struggle against the backdrop of a world possessed of its own dissonance and harmony.
Rites of passage can come with a price as well as reward, as in "Learning the Facts of Life," where the first sign of menses brings promise and a mother's cautionary advice. The poet's excitement at recess, where she is "...running from friend to friend, leaping with news/ across the strewn book bags, lunchboxes, / across the school yard jingly with keys, whistles,/ my charm bracelet gifted with voice..." fades when coached that night on "how to hold on to a man" by lying about being born with a cleft palate. In "Cleft Palate" the poet is eloquent ("The hole in the roof of my mouth/ is haunted/ by the ghost of my breath.") and recalls her mother's "Hand in mine, the best part," as they traveled the subway to elocution lessons. Her condition was " a spirit/ haunting a collection/ of calamities and pleasures."
In "Irreconcilable" a battle of wills between a persistent squirrel trapped in the attic and the poet's frantic but ultimately successful attempsts to free the creature without harm is a welcome distraction to the large and small horrors of the world, where people are "killing and killed in religious fervor,/...blindfolded, bound, and gagged..."
The startling contrasts in "Across the Way" propel the reader from a home renovation to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Under "the same wild sky" we hear the wails of a homeowner as workmen, dismantling her roof, break a garden gnome, and the cries of "shrieking children" who "get flung like old shingles/ out into oleander bushes, into a cinderblock wall..."
Just as there are poems that quietly alarm ("Scraps at the Zoo," "On Rising"), there are those like "Semester's End," homage to the poet's students, their "raw whispers" and "labored strivings" part of a collective "human blossoming." This generous spirit graces each poem in this collection.
                                        --Mindy Kronenberg
                                          Editor, Book/Mark Quarterly Small Press Review
Cover Image: Robert L. Harrison



At the Intersection of Everything You Have Ever Loved

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.

                                                                           --Norman Friedman

                                                                              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.

                                                                            --Henry Berry

                                                                               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.

                                                                            --M.K. Henderson

                                                                                Hob Nob


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.

                                                                               --Sharon Mulak

                                                                                 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.

                                                                                --Lois Walker

                                                                                   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.

                                                                                --Michael Gunderloy

                                                                                   Factsheet Five



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


Moving Day

Premier Poets Chapbook Series: 19, 2001


One Small Kindness

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.

                                    --Diane Frank

                                       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.

                                         --Molly Peacock

                                            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.

                                         --Michele Cooper

                                            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.

                                          --Vince Clemente

                                             Consulting Editor, The Seventh Quarry;

                                             Author of Sweeter than Vivaldi


Anthology Highlights

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)



Journal Highlights

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


Poetry Book Reviews Highlights

"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.







Intellectual Property © 2009 Gayl Teller