Los Angeles Independent Publishing

Lesbian Books

Red Hen Press, a Los Angeles independent publisher founded by Kate Gale, offers poetry readings, poetry contests, book awards, and more.

Los Angeles Independent Publishing

Lesbian Books

Red Hen Press, a Los Angeles independent publisher founded by Kate Gale, offers poetry readings, poetry contests, book awards, and more.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor

Author's Website

TESS TAYLOR’s chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship. The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House, “stunning” and it was a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award. Her second book, Work & Days, was called “our moment’s Georgic” by critic Stephen Burt and was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Harvard Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. Taylor chairs the poetry committee of the National Book Critics Circle, is currently the on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered, and was most recently visiting professor of English and creative writing at Whittier College. Taylor has received fellowships from MacDowell, Headlands Center for the Arts, and The International Center for Jefferson Studies. Taylor received a Fulbright US Scholar Award and is currently in residence at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Los Angeles Independent Publishing

Lesbian Books

Red Hen Press, a Los Angeles independent publisher founded by Kate Gale, offers poetry readings, poetry contests, book awards, and more.

The Forage House

The Forage House

Tess Taylor
2013-08-01
$17.95 Tradepaper
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Description:

Attic boxes full of shards. Family stories full of secrets. A grandchild wondering what to save and what to throw away seeks to make sense of what it means to inherit anything at all. In The Forage House, Tess Taylor?s anticipated lyric debut, the speaker unravels a rich and troubling history. Some of her ancestors were Randolph Jeffersons, one of Virginia?s most prominent slaveholding families. Some were New England missionaries. Some were dirt-poor Appalachians. And one was the brilliant, controversial Thomas Jefferson. Taylor herself is a Californian, who grew up a continent away from each of these worlds. Shuttling between legend and story, history and family tale, these poems visit cluttered attics, torn wills, and marked and unmarked graves. They explore the decline of a family home, record the death of a matriarch, and visit restless ghosts. Working alongside historians and archaeologists, Taylor unearths buttons, pipes, and the accidental unearthings of a busy state building its new freeway. Based in years of research and travel, these poems form a kind of lyric journalism, collaged from tantalizing fragments.

Moving between past and present, East and West, these poems record an uneasy genealogist struggling with ambiguous legacy. They ask what family stories contain, what they leave out, and how fragments exert force now. The Forage House is personal?--rooted in lived bodies, physical experience, travel--?but it is not solitary. Questions of what to save and what to reinvent, what is said and what is left out, are also political. What lies on the margins of a story or utterance? How do we access what we cannot know about the past? These poems dance between inheritance and loss, reimagining ?illuminating lies.? In their hunger to assemble and remember, they also forge a new record of struggle and love: ?how much I wish for will not be recorded.?

Praise for The Forage House

"Tess Taylor’s The Forage House is a brave and compelling collection that bears witness to the journey of historical discovery. Sifting through archives, artifact, and souvenir, Taylor presents a dialectic of what’s recorded and what’s not, unearthing the traces that give way to her own history—and a vital link to our shared American past. What’s here and accounted for draws us powerfully toward what’s absent; what seems complete here never is—something as fragmented as history in the language, as haunted too."

—Natasha Trethewey

"Ezra Pound’s definition of the epic—'A poem containing history' demands courage and intellectual range, as well as lyrical gifts. Tess Taylor meets that challenge in The Forage House. A figure of epic scale, Taylor’s Thomas Jefferson is tragic as well: 'ambitious foundering father.' The poise, candor and reach of this book—with a vision that embraces the enigmas of contemporary El Cerrito along with those of the slave-owner Jefferson—are deeply impressive.

—Robert Pinsky


Work and Days

Work and Days

Tess Taylor
2016-04-08
$11.95 tradepaper
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Description:

A poet hailed as "stunning" reveals a fierce and sensual intelligence in a meditation about farming, reproducing, and what it means to try to forge a relationship with the earth.

In 2010, Tess Taylor was awarded the Amy Clampitt Fellowship. Her prize: A rent-free year in a cottage in the Berkshires, where she could finish a first book. But Taylor--outside the city for the first time in nearly a decade, and trying to conceive her first child--found herself alone. To break up her days, she began to intern on a small farm, planting leeks, turning compost, and weeding kale. In this calendric cycle of 28 poems, Taylor describes the work of this year, considering what attending to vegetables on a small field might achieve now. Against a backdrop of drone strikes, "methamphetamine and global economic crisis," these poems embark on a rich exploration of season, self, food, and place. Threading through the farm poets--Hesiod, Virgil, and John Clare--Taylor revisits the project of small scale farming at the troubled beginning of the 21st century. In poems full of bounty, loss and the mysteries of the body, Taylor offers a rich, severe, memorable meditation about what it means to try to connect our bodies, and our time on earth.

“"Tess Taylor'’s second book of poems offers a series of deliberate lyrics, lyrics as deliberations—tendings and attendings in a Hesiodic and Virgilian key: ‘here I work a plot that also grounds.’ This is a book both grounded and worldly, alert to the smallest pecks a bird might make and to the drones and bombs the US dispatches in the names of its citizens. The shape of a day, a year, a life; the press of mortality; the clutch of soil; the specific angles of light in each season: Work and Days takes the measure of a contemporary life anchoring itself, provisionally, in a farming year. The beauty here co-exists with rot, ripeness with blight. Taylor’s poems are lean, her imagination and reckoning rich. The turn of the plow offers one of the oldest images of the turnings of verse: Taylor’s poems carve their own furrow in our common soil—a line between wanting and getting, working and hoping, learning and failing, losing and making. This is a severe, attentive book, paradoxically lush in its very stringencies. Despite all, ‘a throaty world sings ripen.’”"

—--Maureen McLane


Los Angeles Independent Publishing

Lesbian Books

Red Hen Press, a Los Angeles independent publisher founded by Kate Gale, offers poetry readings, poetry contests, book awards, and more.