‘This Is a Californian Feeling’: Poet Tess Taylor Captures Life on the Brink in ‘Rift Zone’

Shortly before the state of California ordered its citizens to retreat indoors, I met up with poet Tess Taylor for a hike on a steep hill near her home.

It was one of those perfect California days: warm; dappled sun; early spring flowers popping.

Everything looked and smelled tangy.

“There are so many smells to love here, like rosemary or Ponderosa pine needles in the sun,” said Taylor, as we hiked up the steep gravely trail to the summit. “All of these are very specific California smells.”