Again and again, Paige Taggart’s Or Replica delivers a peculiar shock of acuity. A window onto the evolution of a singular voice as it seeks to redefine itself in a shifting landscape, these poems stumble, they grope, they test their boundaries and move on. Arriving with great heart, honesty, inventiveness, hilarity, and music, Taggart’s poetry reminds us that the small moments we invest in are important, but that we are a part of larger, changing awareness, that even “the things we leave alone/ will grow full of purpose.”
by Paige Taggart
December 1, 2014
“Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the speaker of the recent poem Cosmos, says that The Observable Universe is the last line in our human address. But then he goes on to talk about multiple universes: universe upon universe. This is how space blows out and internalizes in Paige Taggart’s Or Replica, where she calls on geography as a trigger for journeys in which History is glubinka—the Russian word for interior. In other words, she is limitless. Taggart writes that Risk is like making a poem that won’t change for eight hundred years; her image-packed, lapidary lines could easily be ancient fragments or a tweeted response to What’s happening? as she sails the dialogic seas towards the lover, collects the right kind of oxygen, hangovers, and Parisian blowjobs in the field of language that happens to be her body, her imagination a hinge/ endless swinging door/ upon grass and pale sky/ the frame/ the only obstruction. Taggart is a natural-born poet whose vision stays in place by the grace of her astounding sense of measure; one of the best things in these poems is the air. What she notices between breaths makes me weep.”
Review, Publishers Weekly
“[T]aggart leads a journey through the topography of language, with memory and an abstracted sense of solitude providing the setting….[T]he book alternates between prose poems and sections of short, fleeting pieces which often splinter or interrupt themselves. “It is easy/ to become convinced/ that action makes meaning,” she writes, urging the reader to take heed. But for Taggart, it’s not action but the moments of hesitation, of witty vulnerability that make the collection meaningful.”
“Loneliness here hits back through the eyes of others, through obligations to others: to be truly alone means not being observed, not being in relation to anyone else, even the you in the poem, for which Taggart apologizes at points, aware that the poem is also a gaze, that poetry also manipulates. Like a time machine or a Somali pirate looking for a child bride, the poem swoops in and grabs you.”
Interview with the Poetry Society of America
“The poems are largely about love, and destroying the past experiences of love in order to arrive at a clean slate and a new hope to embrace love. It’s baby clean love, it’s baby no, I’ve never loved/been loved this way before. “The crescendo of love being arrival,” we arrive at a clearer point of existence on the spectrum of our lives in order to love anew.
The prose poems are often about memory and recollection and the desire to erase memory in order to live with fewer anxieties. I think these poems pushed me to process life’s events as an expression of transient stability.” (Read More)
Review, by Laurie Saurborn Young at American Microreviews & Interviews
“Prone to rapid transition, yet capable of clear, narrative moments, episodes of linguistic dissociation are interspersed with plainspoken confession. . . . Taggart’s words are carefully selected and deliberately stacked, as if rungs on a ladder or stones in a battlement wall. . . . Interstellar, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental, the spaces within these poems are boundless.”
Interview excerpt, with Rob McClennan for 12 or 20 (Second Series)
RM – How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
PT – That baby carriage metaphor! Language pulls me around and I follow it to wherever it leads me, and that I find myself at poetry is because poetry is more able to swell and recede with the overall meaning of each word, whereas fiction and non-fiction tends to be much more focused on creating meaning in a clear narrative that exercises language’s’ everyday tendencies; whereas poetry pushes the limits of language, spinning miter into the abstract and strengthening the raw artifice of desires unseen to everyday humans.
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