Tag Archive for: Taylor Strickland

Taylor Strickland’s Commonplace Book moves across the Atlantic from the poet’s native United States to the landscape and seascape of Scotland, exploring through its inquiring lines the beauty of the terrain and the complexity of human life. Commonplace Book features poetry of fresh and dextrous language, firmly rooted in tradition, alive to the “melon-light dripping from each rock / like meltwater.”


Featured poem: Heil Valley
(for David George Haskell)

Field run to seed along the grain
of granite, trees under dusk and ruin
complete any piecemeal dark.
Blacker than char, a squirrel angles
toward pitched meadowland, listens
for anything else, an owl
concealed by shadow, or far off,
fast through the canyon that never stops,
the wind-splitter, a motorcycle
dying into night. Nature’s sonographer
with big probing ears, it can read sound
as well as hear. Watch how it scans
woodsmoke for a seasonless year
high among the pine-fork, then re-builds
its needle-stitched cup, cache that was
brimful with seed, berry and acorn,
until it realizes nothing
discerns nothing after wildfire, after
the aftermath. Only loss, and worse
the evergreen of memory is reversed
to never-green, a nothing-nest,
so eerily similar to nothingness.


Purchase Commonplace Book from Broken Sleep Books