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Poet recalls mountain lion screams, other moments "filled with joy or fear" in new book

drawing of a bird
Tom Pohrt, "The Bird-while" reprinted with permission of Wayne State University Press
An illustration by Ann Arbor native Tom Pohrt found within the pages of "The Bird-while" by Keith Taylor.

He teaches young writers at the University of Michigan, and he practices what he teaches.

Throughout the years, Keith Taylor has published short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and written powerful collections of poetry.

Taylor joined Stateside to talk about his newest book of poetry, The Bird-while

The book is a "constellation" of wide-ranging personal stories and memories, some of which date back to Taylor's childhood.

Included in the poems are tales from home in Michigan, experiences overseas, and time outdoors with birds, wolves and other wildlife. One poem details an encounter with a mountain lion which helped (forced?) Taylor's bad knees to move faster than they otherwise would have.

Listen to the full interview above to hear Taylor read some of his poems and talk about the process of taking a life experience and molding it into a poem. He also explains the origin of the book's title, which dates back to 1838.

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