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Taylor, D. (2017) Palm Up, Palm Down. San Antonio, TX: Wings Press.

Taylor, D.  (2017) Palm Up, Palm Down. San Antonio, TX: Wings Press.

 

David Taylor‘s new book begins with a huge sigh — “I gave up on gods years ago, / taking instead the offerings of sex, woods, and wine. / Now, I’m letting go of those too.” But then this Texas boy (an inveterate environmentalist) begins to get excited by the New England woodlands and shorelines, coming rapidly to the conclusion that “I know / nothing … no thing … not one thing.” After that, Taylor’s inquisitive dance takes off, ranging from the Texas prairies to Pennsylvania backwoods to the high Sierras of California to the streets of Havana, Cuba. Carefully crafted, highly observational, environmentally sensitive poems that push the pause button on our current chaos.

Palm Up, Palm Down draws on connections and commitments to home and place — human and nonhuman. Such a topic is not new to poetry; however, this book moves in circles, out and away, then returns home, rediscovering the quiet beyond/within the concept of “home.” The collection moves readers to slow not only their reading but encourages them to slow down the pace of their lives, allowing time to inhabit, listen, and invite in the broad array of neighbors.

Critical Praise

  • David Taylor’s Palm Up, Palm Down is a collection of poems working steadily from ‘the edges’ of things and places. What really struck me about this new collection is how many of the poems are about meditation and deliberation— settling, sitting, exploring inward as the poet travels outward and away. A sort of longing for stillness pervades the poems. Close reading is a constant trope, as is mindful watching, and walking. We need these beautiful poems in a distracted age.

    — John Lane, author of Abandoned Quarry

  • David Taylor’s lyrical meditation on walking rhythmically through this world and noticing gleaming details with each footstep offers a reprieve from the blows of city life and the daily injustices on our streets. This book is a refuge. The poems are feather-light with the packed-in wisdom of old river stones. They know the currents. They do not move. What moves is the spirit in the dynamic lines of Taylor’s work. Whether we are circling the lake with the poet, or dancing to Havana’s rhythms, this poetry provides real company, partnership.

    — Marilyn Kallet, author of The Love That Moves Me

  • Palm Up, Palm Down creates the sensation of listening to melodies on a harpsichord. The rhythm of Taylor’s poetry pulses gently, quickly, happily, and startlingly in tune with nature’s own cadence that soothes, thrills, and disturbs us. Not since Robinson Jeffers has a poet been better able than Taylor to marry the rhythms of human life with the rhythms of nature.

    — Gary Clark, nature columnist for The Houston Chronicle and one of Texas’ foremost naturalists

 

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