"He was a student at Gleneagle when a teacher presented him with the poetry of William Carlos Williams (Taylor recently cultivated a poetry nerd following on Twitter by composing numerous tweets about eating icebox plums)... Since then, poetry has become a lifelong vocation."
“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.”
You can read the whole review here.
thecommentary.ca was kind enough to take time to interview me about the book!
We talked about all sorts of things, including how poetry can help us explore dark territory and keep us company during difficult times.
You can listen to/download that interview here.
Lastly, I posted last week that Chris Banks had provided a thoughtful review of Strangers for The Miramichi Reader. The good news has kept coming from their site, where Strangers was just longlisted for their "The Very Best!" Book Award for Poetry (alongside amazing titles by Shaun Robinson, Evelyn Lau, and others I have yet to have a chance to read). It's a heck of an honour (I love awards that are grassroots organized and have a sense of humour about themselves!), especially as the book has yet to even be officially "launched" into the world!
That launch will take place online tomorrow (May 27th, at 7 PM EDT/ 4 PM PDT) and will feature Luke Hathaway, Sue Sinclair and Sadiqa de Meijer. You can RSVP for the event via Facebook or simply click over to the YouTube page at the correct time.
Strangers is officially out there in the world and making things happen!The book's first review came in, a very thoughtful, generous one courtesy of Bryce Warnes and The Poetry Question. An excerpt:
“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.”
You can read the whole review here.I've been able to do two interview for the book, too - one audio and one in print. The spoken one was for Andrew French's Page Fright podcast. Andrew has been good to me in the past, interviewing me last year (just pre-pandemic) about Best Canadian Poetry 2019 and What the Poets Are Doing. This time we talked about the new book, and all sorts of other stuff: creating community during a pandemic, how I like to read a poetry book, my superhero origin story, etc.
You can listen to/download/subscribe to the podcast here.My second interview was with Michael Edwards, who runs the Red Alder Review. Michael has also been good to me in the past, publishing a haiku of mine just this January. We talked about both Strangers and haiku a good deal in the interview, among other topics. Most pleasing for me, Michael's questions reached back over all four of my books, allowing me to take a bit of a long-view on my writing, and how its led me to this current book.
You can give that interview a read here.
I've also been delighted to have Strangers appear in all thee of the Quill & Quire, CBC Books and 49th Shelf's Spring book roundups, and to see photos of the book appearing here and there on social media, the highest of these honours being Vicki "BookGaga" Ziegler handwriting a poem of mine in her journal (weighed down by the famous tiny pink dumbbell!) - a long held dream for any Canadian poet on Twitter:
"and every palm sweeps up— Vicki Ziegler (@bookgaga) March 24, 2021
a breath it presses
to our shoulder blades
and smooths."#todayspoem Stroking your back through a nightmare by @roblucastaylor from Strangers (2021 @biblioasis) pic.twitter.com/cun5nRynnr
I hope I'll have even more updates going forward, but this has been a tremendous start so far! We still have almost a month to go until my Strangers' online launch (feat. Luke Hathaway, Sue Sinclair and Sadiqa de Meijer) and even longer until my (hopefully possible!) in-person outdoor launches in the summer. You can learn more about those here!