The Teacozy Story

The name of this site and my various social media handles is a throwback to the blog I kept from 2008-2015 of the same name. When setting up this new site, keeping this name I’d already used for so long felt right.

But what’s “A teacozy is a sometimes” supposed to mean, anyway?

In 2008 I was introduced to Gertrude Stein, and it was love at first object from Tender Buttons. I had never read anything so unusual or so evocative. I’m no scholar of Stein, but it has always seemed to me that by foregoing or transforming the usual boundaries of grammar and syntax, Stein made language even more lyrical, even more evocative. Poetry, to me, has always seemed like a powerful medium to say something you can’t say in quotidian language—a genre used to communicate emotion that is hard to express in straightforward phrases. Stein’s opening of language seemed to make this power limitless—words, with all their strange magical heft and connotations, I now felt, could be used in any which way to create any aura one might wish to write.

All that to say, I immediately wanted to write like her, and began incorporating the stylistic lessons I learned from her into my work. And the first poem in which I felt I did this well was my poem “Matryoshka Disassembled,” written about a trip I took to Montreal, where I fell in love with that place. The first line in that poem is “A teacozy is a sometimes,” and it was the oddest line I ever wrote. I wrote the poem when I’d returned to Calgary, and was standing in my parent’s kitchen, my eyes falling on their teapot, while I contemplated my recent experiences. For me, this was a huge step as a writer. I felt an endless expanse of poetic possibilities spreading out before me, waiting to be explored. That’s why I used the line for the name of my blog—I’d never been more excited about a line I’d written, never more enraptured with language.

I think the reason I’ve stuck with the line the homey feeling of it, and the nostalgia it evokes. As my sister has said, nostalgia is my super power. The moment of standing in my parent’s kitchen and looking at that quotidian item still gives me a pang. Thinking about being young and falling in love with Montreal, while feeling the equally powerful tug to home, this also still gives me a pang. Not only was writing this line a poetic achievement for me, it pulled together all my conflicting loves and longings, my hopes and comforts, my confusions and clarities. “A teacozy is a sometimes” is truly a line from my heart.

The poem went on to be the namesake of, and the last poem in, my first chapbook, “tea cosy,” published in 2008 by kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s by the skin of me teeth press. This was also an incredibly significant step for me in my writing. kevin publishing this aching little book gave me so much faith in myself as a writer—so much confidence that I could really do this thing of being a poet. kevin has my enduring gratitude for this amazing gift.

Here’s the poem… I hope you like it! As Stein says, “All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.”

Matryoshka Disassembled

A teacozy is a sometimes,
an exonerated blue.
A restitution,
sepia it is if granulates
past tense by the tomorrow
shelf on the if she
‘round she maybe
it crumbles.
Reciprocity breathless,
not next to
the Berri-UQAM station
Where you and I that moment,
if only that moment.