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ISBN: 978-1-936873-11-1
Categories Chapbooks, Poetry

Marginalia for a Natural History

Publication Date: December 2011


Marginalia for a Natural History is a sequence of eight-line poems-written in an invented but rigid, almost unforgiving structure-that were inspired by the time their author spends talking with and learning from field biologists. Once he adopted the form, he was able to find a very real freedom within it that allowed him to write from science and observation of the natural world, but also from literature and even from small personal narratives and memories. He likes to imagine that each of these could have been written as a note in one of the field guides (or natural histories) he takes with him when he goes out into wilder places. Some of them actually started that way.


“Marginalia for a Natural History is a compilation of ghostly postcards from paradise. Keith Taylor writes with such exquisite and elliptical beauty that the real world falls away as you read his poetry, and is replaced by a world even more real-more vivid, more breathtaking, more alive for having been captured in his lines. These brief but substantial lyrics stand strong among the best writing that has taken place in conversation with nature. They changed the way I see the land and the sky and the water. This is a chapbook you will return to again and again.”

-Laura Kasischke

About the Author

Keith Taylor

Keith Taylor is the author of many books, including LIFE SCIENCE AND OTHER STORIES (Hanging Loose Press, 1995), GUILTY AT THE RAPTURE (Hanging Loose Press, 2006)and MARGINALIA FOR A NATURAL HISTORY (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). His work has appeared in such publications as Story, The Alternative Press, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Witness and HANGING LOOSE, as well as in several chapbooks. A native of Canada, Taylor lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and daughter. He coordinates the undergraduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan and works as Associate Editor at Michigan Quarterly Review.

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