Rookie Report: Tess Taylor
The Forage House
Red Hen Press
LNL: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.
TT: Roving Californian digs through haunted east coast family attics.
LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?
TT: A little bit Native Guard, a little bit Useless Landscape, a little bit The Branch Will not Break. Oh, wait that’s three. This
book has a lotta love in it.
LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?
TT: Right now: One found object, one incomprehensible family tale, one folk song, three plant names, one tattered document, several other books of poems, some sense of trade routes and travel. Sometimes bourbon. I still miss cigarettes.
LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.
TT: Eudora Welty’s “Delta Wedding.” Read it on the porch of an old home in North Carolina one summer. Felt it caress me. Nothing happened beautifully for several hundred pages. I was haunted.
LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.
TT: It’s hard to ask the right questions about writing poetry, because it’s all such a personal matter of hearing a call and crafting a response. Sometimes people talk about writing as a discipline and it is that. But it’s also pretty mysterious. Why is the possibility of a poem suddenly in the air, then not there again for days? Why is the world sometimes resonant and sometimes not? People can ask this all they want, but I can’t answer. I’m just listening to breezes, listening for clues.
Get a copy of The Forage House from Indiebound
Tess Taylor has received writing fellowships from Amherst College, the American Antiquarian Society, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the International Center for Jefferson Studies, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. Her chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland and published by the Poetry Society of America, and her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Harvard Review, Literary Imagination, The Times Literary Supplement, and The New Yorker. Her essay, “The Waste Land App” published in The Threepenny Review, won a 2013 Pushcart Prize. She currently reviews poetry for NPRsAll Things Considered and teaches writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in El Cerrito, California. Her book of poems, The Forage House, is published by Red Hen Press.