Strangers has been longlisted for the Miramichi Reader‘s Very Best Book Award for Poetry!
My fourth poetry collection, Strangers, was published by Biblioasis in April 2021. The poems explore lineages – familial and literary – and all the ways those we hold closest are both a part of us and, in some ways, forever beyond our reach. Written during a time when my two half-brothers died, my son was born, and my mother was diagnosed with dementia, it’s also about early middle age: a time when the great loves of our lives begin arriving and departing simultaneously, with little time to fully attend to them all. Strangers is one small attempt at such attendance.
Here’s Biblioasis’ description of the book:
“It makes no sense. You would be strangers / if not for this.”
In Strangers, Rob Taylor makes new the epiphany poem: the short lyric ending with a moment of recognition or arrival. In his hands, the form becomes not simply a revelation in words but, in Wallace Stevens’ phrase, “a revelation in words by means of the words.” The epiphany here is not only the poet’s. It’s ours. A book about the songlines of memory and language and the ways in which they connect us to other human beings, to read Strangers is to become part of the lineages (literary, artistic, familial) that it braids together—to become, as Richard Outram puts it, an “unspoken / Stranger no longer.”
Visit the Strangers Summer Tour page to learn more about in-person launches of Strangers (June – September).
“Strangers… uses imagery as both revelation and reconciliation. The poems tease epiphany from memory, memory from language, language from grief and loss. I urge everyone to go out and buy this wonderful poetry collection that dares sadness and boldly remembers, imagining a present moment where our deceased loved ones and friends are still close by, albeit unseen, making loss and life more palpable.”
– Chris Banks, The Miramichi Reader
“Taylor’s explorations of personal grief are masterful… Strangers is not “just” about grief, any more than grief is “just” about feeling sad. Throughout, we see connections between people in all their tangled, tangling glory, the movement of love running down the lines like electric pulses… Love is immanent, and so is everything else. In Strangers, Taylor welcomes us into his world with open arms.”
– Bryce Warnes, The Poetry Question
“The poems exude grief and joy, enthusiasm and fear; at times, simultaneously, as though an emotional well has found new depths. When one first begins to have children, parallels present themselves quickly, offering opportunities to reevaluate one’s own childhood, often for the first time, and in new and unexpected ways. And yet, this is a book of multiple transitions, repeatedly asking how one might get there from here, and wondering how one might survive.”
– rob mclennan, rob mclennan’s blog
Strangers on Goodreads