Remembrance, the lasting perfume
Taylor Graham, a well-known El Dorado County poet with a long list of publications and a real-life calling as a search-and-rescue dog handler, won last year’s Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from the Texas Review Press. Her winning collection, The Downstairs Dance Floor, is now available.
The poems, concerned with memory—and the loss of it—are infused with Graham’s hallmark attention to detail, as well as the subtle emotional twists that fans of her Rattlesnake Press chapbook, Living With Myth, will recognize. There’s an elegiac quality to the poems, a manifestation of the particular sadness that accompanies the loss of memory, as those familiar with Alzheimer’s know. But Graham’s poems of memory—whether personal or transmitted through photographs and stories—also celebrate the past as maker of the present. Series judge R.S. Gwynn referred to Graham’s work as “elegant”; it’s easy to see what he meant in these lines from “Jacaranda”: “Imagine her in blue / boas, flamenco on a breeze. / Imagine / so we can’t forget.”
Graham will read from her work at The Book Collector, 1008 24th Street, at 4p.m. on Sunday, October 22. The reading, sponsored by the store and Rattlesnake Press, is free.