Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Poets to See at AWP: Tayve Neese

I met Tayve Neese in Henniker, New Hampshire in the summer of 2006 in the low-res MFA program at New England College. It was her first residency, my second. Over the next two years of workshops, I found her gorgeous, lyrical poetry to be a balm for the ear and the spirit, and her honest, incisive critiques of my and our colleagues' work to be of tremendous value. When she decided to found Trio House Press in 2011 and asked me to help her, I could not refuse.

Since then, she has not only assembled a terrific team of editors and poets (the press is a collective, whereby all published authors serve on one of several committees to help the press bring more books to market), bringing twelve books to press as of the Los Angeles AWP Conference, but she has also written two full-length collections of poetry--Blood to Fruit (David Roberts Books, 2015), and Locust (looking for a publishing home). In addition, she is the author of one novel and one novella, as well as multiple reviews and articles.

Of Blood to Fruit, Carol Frost, the Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence Alfond Professor of English at Rollins College, says ...made of poems that are taut, precisely built worlds...both ravishing and haunting, stunning and foreboding. Ross Gay, winner of the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, says Fierce and unsettling, the poems in Blood to Fruit are filled with primal grief and a powerful drive toward life that spans many times and places...These are poems that will wake you to another world, the one inside this one. A stunning debut. And Ilya Kaminsky, winner of a Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, adds that Neese is a poet whose ear is marvelous and whose spell is brave. This is a gorgeous book.

Here, then, is a sample poem from this highly-acclaimed collection:

We do not see the plague we have loosed

                                                upon ourselves, hear wings 
                                                beat, beat, marking time.

                                                Without boils, we are still pocked.
                                                Without lesions we covet another life,

                                                anything but our own.
                                                How to make a home in the cell

                                                and bone we’ve been given?
                                                Settle upon it like dust

                                                until we’ve coated each fissure,
                                                bulge, hesitant finger,

                                                all sounds from the tongue.
                                                If we find self-love,

                                                it’s hastened only by the locust—
                                                their whir and song.

Tayve will be signing her book and working at the WordTech Communications Book Fair Table #343, on Thursday, March 31, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and reading that evening at 6:00 p.m. at The Stocking Frame, 911 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, CA 90015. The remainder of the three days of AWP, you will find her at the Trio House Press Book Fair Table #1204, from 9:00 a.m. till noon, and 2:00 p.m. to close. If you don't know Tayve Neese, writer, publisher, and editor, you should stop by and meet her!

Tayve Neese’s work has appeared in literary journals around the country including The Comstock Review, Fourteen Hills, MiPOesias, and The Paris Review (online). She is the Co-Executive Editor of Trio House Press, an independent, non-profit press publishing distinct and innovative voices of emerging and established American poets. Her book, Blood to Fruit, is published by David Robert Books. Neese has taught poetry as an adjunct at the University of North Florida. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Concord Poetry Center in Concord, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Colorado. More about Tayve and her work can be found at

1 comment:

granddaddy said...

I have known of your high regard for Tayve and her work, and I think your choice to let other voices speak of her work here is a good one. At the same time, I think your critical analysis is always honest and spot on. Whether you know the poet or not, you know the poetry and see it clearly. (As exemplified in your post about my poetry!)