blackbirdonline journalFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
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Remembering Eleanor Ross Taylor at One Hundred 
Mary Flinn, Founding Editor

Always Reclusive Broadside
This broadside of “Always Reclusive,” was created for Eleanor Ross Taylor’s memorial service and shared by her son and executor, Ross Taylor, himself a poet of quiet spaces.

When Blackbird was founded in 2001, the editors requested material from their friends and other literary connections for Volume 1, Number 1 to set us off on a strong foot and with wind in our sails. We remain deeply grateful to those writers who responded to our letters and emails with the remarkable poems, stories, and other work that sent us out into the world.

One of those writers was Eleanor Ross Taylor, a unique voice from the Middle Generation of American poets, who not only kindly submitted work for our first issue but who also continued, up to her death in 2011, to be our generous friend and to answer our pleas for additional material. 2020 marks the centennial of her birth, and to celebrate this anniversary as well as her contribution to the art that she so remarkably practiced, we have collected her Blackbird publications here and encourage you, our readers, to join us in rereading (or discovering) what we have gathered. Joining her poems are an interview with Taylor conducted by Susan Settlemyre Williams and texts from other writers who commented on her work at various occasions, both after her death and during her lifetime.

In her introduction to The Lighthouse Keeper: Essays on the Poetry of Eleanor Ross Taylor published by Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press in 2001 (which she edited), Jean Valentine, long Taylor’s friend and admirer, noted:

To our knowledge and memory there have not yet been many women poets of genius: Eleanor Ross Taylor is one. She moves oddly and freely from narratives to sustained dramatic monologues to brief lyrics, at home in them all. Her work is quirky, intelligent, passionate and profound. She is a brilliant elegist who has written laments for historical figures, for her parents, for her mentor and friend Randall Jarrell, and for the unlived life (which turns out, in the paradox of poetry, to be the life she is living).

Taylor is a true compatriot of Emily Dickinson with whom she shares an economy of language, an unstinting eye, and a very private nature, never entirely hidden, but almost certainly watchful.


    Disappearing Act

An Interview with Eleanor Ross Taylor  


        Homesick in Paradise
        Lawrence at the Etruscan Tombs
        Three Days in Flower
        When to Stop


Susan Settlemyre Williams, Contemplating Jailbreak: Reflections on the Career of Eleanor Ross Taylor


     Fifteen Poems and Drafts
            introduced by Eulogy for Eleanor Ross Taylor


     A First Reader

     Remembering Eleanor Ross Taylor: A Poetic
         Principles Reading  
     Wayside Writers Reading Loop

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