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Body of the World, Sam Taylor’s first book, is the work of a poet whose sense of what it means to be human is inseparable from the physical world, about which he writes with unnerving intimacy. The voice, while grounded in the familiar landscape of twenty-first-century America, is also transparent. It regards itself as integral to that place in time, so that to speak of the human mind and body is to speak of the world, just as perception of the world becomes perception of the physical and mental self: not himself, but the human self. Thus, his subject is the enduring mystery of consciousness in all its embodiments: memory, the rain, a credit card, death, an air conditioner, the scent of eucalyptus. His language is like granite, a substance unto itself yet at home in the flux. As we enter what the poet has called elsewhere “a global age of distance-less information and virtual experience,” Body of the World is a necessary book.
Oh the body in its bedouin sleep. Always awake,
always walking blocks of city scaffolding,
always wrapped in rain, hot cocoa, cinnamon.
Always a curled embryo, always a curved umbrella,
always the handle of an unknown suitcase,
always the echo that will not fit inside a cathedral. Always a brief April.
A graduate of Swarthmore College and a former Michener Fellow in the MFA program at The University of Texas at Austin, Sam Taylor is a poet, nonfiction writer, and yoga teacher. His poems have appeared in numerous publications and received The Florida Review Editor’s Award in Poetry in 2002. He splits his time between teaching English at The University of New Mexico-Taos and as a caretaker for a wilderness refuge in the San Juan Mountains during its snowed-in winter months.
|Realism : a landscape of the body||4|
|The lost world||8|
|Sonnet in A minor||25|
|Here in the mountains||29|
|After Charon : a late aubade||31|
|Brief, accidental orchestras||40|
|The gospel of J||48|
|Waking with Chloe||51|
|Basics (I/400th shutter speed)||53|
|The undressing room||55|
|Shifting ambiguities of soil||61|
|Coda : for whom the bell tolls||72|
|Notes to organic knowing||75|
Posted September 26, 2005
Body of the World offers one of the most urgent and exciting poetic visions I have encountered in a long time. I don't know where Sam Taylor came from, but his poems contain an intensity I typically find only in poets from other countries. This book is the real thing, and reading it is a powerful, transformative experience.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.