Nude Descending an Empire

Sam Taylor's Nude Descending an Empire is a book that has large ambitions—and overwhelmingly succeeds at all of them. The voice here works at so many dimensions: spiritual, political, erotic, sensually worldly and quietly lyrical—and probably a dozen more! Few poets are able to write well in just one or two of these realms. That Taylor can do so much—he marries Frank O'Hara and Merwin, Whitman and Dante, your latest local radio report and science fiction!—is amazing in and of itself. And, then, when you take a breath and sit down hard reading this book, his gift at incantatory syntax takes this amazement to a wholly different level—you stand up, you read these poems aloud. I love the many lives of this book: his life as Sioux, Jew, a Christian peasant, and many others. I love how he curses and praises and sexes in the same poem, often in the same moment. Sam Taylor is a poet to reckon with, a poet to live with, a poet to marvel at. This is a wonderful book.
Ilya Kaminsky

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As a collection of politically engaged poetry for the 21st century, Nude Descending and Empire develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet speaking to the urgency of our contemporary moment, especially its ecological crisis. This is a book that brings all the supposed sensitivity of poetry into contact with the world we actually live in—with all its crises, madness, and modernity—and insists that we feel it all. A reader will recognize many of the urgent political issues of our time, yet will find them re-inhabited and transformed here by the imaginative power of poetry. Our great ecological crisis is cast as the fulfillment of a long history of violence, domination, lies, and alienation—in one word, empire—and the book suggests that a livable future requires that we wholly inhabit our body-heart-mind and discover a new paradigm.

104 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

August, 2014

isbn : 9780822963042

about the author

Sam Taylor

Sam Taylor is the author of the poetry collection Body of the World, a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year. He has received the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, the Dobie Paisano Fellowship, the James Michener Fellowship, and fellowship residencies from Yaddo and the Vermont Studio Center, among other honors. Taylor is an assistant professor of creative writing at Wichita State University. He spent three years as a caretaker in a remote wildlife refuge, an experience that inspires the ecological engagement of this work.

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Sam Taylor