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      TESS TAYLOR reads from her new poetry books RIFT ZONE and LAST WEST with EDAN LEPUCKI in Los Angeles


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      May 27, 2020

      Wednesday   7:30 PM

      1818 N Vermont Avenue
      Los Angeles, California 90027

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      TESS TAYLOR reads from her new poetry books RIFT ZONE and LAST WEST with EDAN LEPUCKI

      Rift Zone (Red Hen Press)

      Tess Taylor’s previous book of poetry, Work & Days, was named one of the best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Now, with her extraordinary new collection, Rift Zone, Taylor presents her most powerful and timely work yet. Rift Zone shows a critically acclaimed poet—known to many as the on-air Poetry Reviewer for NPR’s “All Things Considered”—at work on a one-of-a-kind endeavor, mapping a California and a country at the brink. Addressing issues of gun violence, homelessness, and climate change, Taylor reveals the fault lines, literal and figurative, in her Northern California hometown and our country as a whole. At the same time, Rift Zone is a deeply intimate and tender book about parenting, specifically about becoming a parent in a fraught time.

      As Ilya Kaminsky writes in his introduction to Rift Zone, “Taylor understands she is living at the edge of what might be a great gulf, in the face of what might be called precarity—of her own life, of people around her, of the geologic earth, of the planet as we know it. To simply recognize this in America today is no small thing. To write the kind of work that actually maps this gulf is special.”

      Praise for Rift Zone:

      "Reading Tess Taylor's book as one sequence, which I highly recommend, is like taking a long walk with a vivid friend. Her voice falls in a steady rain of memory and witness, calling an entire landscape to life. Unearthing and sifting the seismic layers of her own East Bay locale, she's created a haunting American elegy."--Jonathan Lethem, author of The Feral Detective

      “In Rift Zone, Tess Taylor’s brilliant third collection, we encounter a magisterial range of subjects, from the geologic to the civic to the intimately personal. This book is a confident poetic engagement with the vital issues of our time, including the disastrous consequences of human activity on our climate, and its effect on the public and private spheres. Rooted in the shifting California landscape, this elegiac yet hopeful book is a necessary addition to the corpus of work dedicated to grieving the world as we know it.” —Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things

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      Last West (MOMA) 

      In Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange, acclaimed American poet Tess Taylor follows the winding paths across California that Lange traveled during the Great Depression and in its immediate aftermath. On these journeys, Lange photographed migrant laborers, Dust Bowl refugees, tent cities, and Japanese American internment camps. Taylor’s hybrid text collages lyric and oral histories against Lange’s own journals and notebook fragments, framing the ways social and ecological injustices of the past rhyme eerily with those of the present. The result is a stunning meditation on movement, landscape, and place.

      Last West is published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in conjunction with the exhibition Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, the first major solo exhibition at the Museum of the photographer’s incisive work in over 50 years. On view from February 9 through May 9, 2020, Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures is organized by Sarah Meister, Curator, with River Bullock, Beaumont & Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow. The exhibition includes approximately 100 photographs drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, and uses archival materials such as correspondence, historical publications, and oral histories to examine the ways in which words inflect our understanding of Lange’s pictures.

      Praise for Last West:
      “Scintillatingly rendered by Taylor as conversation, meditation, road trip, and vivid documentary account, Last West tracks the not-so-distant past into the erupting present, taking on as many poetic forms as there are California topographies.”—Forrest Gander, Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

      Tess Taylor is the author of five collections of poetry. Her chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship, and The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House, “stunning.”  Her second book, Work & Days, was hailed as “our moment’s Georgic” by critic Stephanie Burt and named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. Taylor’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon ReviewPoetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and The New York Times, and she has received fellowships from MacDowell, Headlands Center for the Arts, and The International Center for Jefferson Studies. She served as Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has served as the poetry critic for All for over a decade. In spring 2020 she will publish two books of poems: Last West, part of Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, at the Museum of Modern Art, and Rift Zone, from Red Hen Press. She teaches poetry and nonfiction at University of California, Davis.

      Edan Lepucki is the bestselling author of the novels California and Woman No. 17. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, McSweeney's, and the New York Times, among others. She is the creator of the popular Instagram Mothers Before, and she she will edit a book inspired by the project, to be published by Abrams Press in 2020. She is the co-host of a podcast called Mom Rage.

      Categories: Literary & Books

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