Caroline Teague

Caroline Teague is a London born and bred poet who writes on grief, identity and how she comes to terms with some harrowing realities of being human and being alive, in a style she terms ‘tragic optimism’, hoping that the honesty through her writing can translate into something positive and comforting for someone else. Creator of the musical project ‘Caroline Smiling’ which blends music, spoken word and illustration to creatively communicate ideas around mental health and queer identity. Caroline hosts London’s only regular three-round slam, Genesis Poetry Slam, and is an artist in residence at the Vauxhall-based queer cabaret night Bar Wotever. Her debut poetry pamphlet will be released with Burning Eye Books in 2019.

Caroline Teague will be attending StAnza as our 2019 poet in residence, supported by the Edwin Morgan Trust.


Festival Launch Extravaganza »

Enjoy a sneak peek of some of the highlights of StAnza 2019

Wed 6 March | 18:30 - 20:45 | free / ticketed | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium


Home grown

Conversations about the dying
turn the inside of my mouth into the memory of confirmation.
Long forgotten prayers are called to worship
settling in the pews of my rotten molars.
I have been spitting the seedlings out for months.
In the meantime, I try and remind myself that flowers are beautiful
wherever you find them –
an atheist’s kitchen
or church is still fine.
They both have had roots gutted
from the ground up and are dying.
Perfect science.

We are stem and search
as if our gardens are our church.
Maybe gardener is to flower
what God is to us;
bringer of all things dead
or that at least you know will die.
I come to people like spring
not hot enough in any temperature gauge like summer,
but warm enough in sentiment to melt the endless winter of trouble.
Yes, I bring some warmth in my arrival.
As there are many flowers in spring’s garden
there are many people still in the swarm of me.
There is something
that keeps them coming back each year,
to the time when the cold has unfolded its arms
from around the most disturbed of earth.
There are buds in my brain.
There are seeds in my soil.
Body braced against weather,
I could easily lay down on my seedbed and sleep forever.

We talk faith as cultivation.
Pollinate hope in others,
as this umbrella idea
Flower like.
Flower child.
May flower.
Love here, might be nothing now
but the apparition of a green thumb.
Even when nothing grows there anymore,
we always end up back in our garden.

Caroline Teague

First published in the Evidently Poetry Anthology 2016, ed. Ella Gainsborough and Kieren King