RIFT ZONE, Taylor's much-anticipated third book traces literal and metaphoric fault lines--rifts between past and present, childhood and adulthood, what is and what was. Circling Taylor's hometown--an ordinary California suburb lying along the Hayward fault--these poems unearth strata that include a Spanish land grant, a bloody land grab, gun violence, valley girls, strip malls, redwood trees, and the painful history of Japanese internment.
Taylor's ambitious and masterful poems read her home state's historic violence against our world's current unsteadinesses--mass eviction, housing crises, deportation, inequality. They also ponder what it means to try to bring up children along these rifts. What emerges is a powerful core sample of America at the brink--an American elegy equally tuned to maternal and to geologic time. At once sorrowful and furious, tender and fierce, Rift Zone is startlingly observant, relentlessly curious--a fearsome tremor of a book.
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About the Author
The San Francisco Chronicle hailed Tess Taylor's first book, The Forage House, as "stunning." Critic Stephanie Burt called Work & Days, her second book, "our moment's Georgic," and it was named one of the ten best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Taylor's poetry and nonfiction appear widely; she chairs the poetry committee of the National Book Critics Circle and is the on-air poetry reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. She was a Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Anne Spencer Writer in Residence at Randolph College. Taylor grew up and lives in El Cerrito, California.
"The poet for our moment."
--Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
Selected as a featured poem in The New York Times by Naomi Shihab Nye
"In Rift Zone, Tess Taylor's brilliant fourth 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, author of The Carrying
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
"Part natural history, part social history, part personal history, part prayer, the poems in Rift Zone are lit by a Northern Californian light that will both soothe and sear our hearts."
--Camille T. Dungy, author of Trophic Cascade
Contributing writer for CNN
Featured in Poets & Writers Magazine
The Millions selection for Must Read Poetry in April 2020
Featured in The San Francisco Chronicle's "Datebook" series
Interviewed in ALTA Online
Featured in Zyzzyva Magazine
Virtual Book Launch with Point Reyes Books
Featured on Ms. Magazine
"A Reading List for the Social Distancing Era" on WAMUS
Featurette in the East Bay Times
Featurette in KQED
Featured in a Library Journal Diversifying Poetry Collection List
Poem featured in The Yale Review
Poem featured in The Harvard Review
Featured column in Bookmarks