Eden On The Edge

All Content Copyright, Natalie Taylor 2014, All Rights Reserved

Podcast: Episode 10: Natalie Taylor and Paisley Rekdal at READ LOCAL

15 Bytes was kind enough to record the READ LOCAL reading with myself and Utah’s poet laureate Paisley Rekdal. This is what they had to say:

“Interesting things happen when you bring two writers together, which is why every quarter Artists of Utah, in conjunction with Salt Lake City Arts Council, brings two Utah writers together for a reading and discussion. On Thursday, January 25, READ LOCAL featured poets Natalie Taylor and Paisley Rekdal. Taylor won first place in the 2016 Utah Original Writing competition for Poetry and Rekdal, Utah’s Poet Laureate, was the winner of the 2017 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry. The writers share an interest in mythology, especially the story of the Minotaur, and form — both read from ekphrastic works. Take a listen to their wonderful readings and the discussion that follows.”

READ LOCAL is presented in conjunction with Salt Lake City Arts Council and support from Utah Humanities.

You’ll find the podcast feed at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ArtistsOfUtahs15Bytes

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Taylor and Rekdal flyer

Literary Arts award ceremony

ceremony reading

Had a great time reading at the 2017 Utah Original Writing Competition at the Finch Lane Gallery. Congratulations to all the winners.

15 Bytes

Psyched to be in 15 Bytes today.

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I’m working on a manuscript, Past the minotaur, a contemporary retelling of the Greek myth. In the myth, seven maidens and seven youths were lowered into a labyrinth as annual sacrifices to the minotaur. These persona poems are vignettes from the point of view of three of the children as they wait in the dark maze.

Yes. They are dark. Happy Sunday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Story Catcher Summer Writing Workshop & Festival

So excited to be part of the Story Catcher Summer Writing Workshop & Festival next month. If you need a dose of inspiration, join us June 14–17 in the Pine Ridge Region of Northwest Nebraska.

As a 2017 Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer, I’ll be leading a workshop at the festival on Saturday.

Get all the deets here: StoryCatcher17FinalProgramEmail.

Comic Book Heroes

Going through some old files and found this one. It’s quite possibly my first published piece.

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Published in Northern Lights, May 1996, Volume XI Number 4.

Fire season

Back then, the fire was encircled

with the groaning growth of ring after ring.

Night spreading

to protect the yellow heart,

the possibility

of what may crack but never

give. The way a mother holds

her bright, green twigs.

 

But now we dance in dark

the way wild things entwine.

The way I lift my hips to you

like a snake to a branch.

The way a blaze sheds a violent sheen

on scales gliding over thorn.

Little deaths rubbing against big deaths.

 

I take all you offer knowing

I will never be satisfied.

All those bones: a skull, a spine

reaching for some black root,

the delicate arc of alula, radius, and humerus―

the remnant of flight.

Death’s beauty is a single eye

seeing sideways the shape

of what it was to fly.

 

Sometimes I see that grim beak

carrying what I starved.

 

 

 

Published in Talking River, Winter 2016

Minatare, Nebraska

 

We have lemon drops and beer. And so far,

we’re ahead of the storm. Mile after mile, railroad ties slide

 

in forlorn piles next to the tracks as if it took too much energy

to stay put. A coyote jumps for a mouse, pheasants

 

brighten. November snow sugars the tops of cows. Acres and acres

of freeze-dried sunflowers. I am helping my friend go home,

 

which sounds better than it is.

Her second marriage ended like the first.

 

And her daughter is with her father in Arizona.

And she left both for Minnesota during a polar vortex.

 

Somewhere near the Badlands, kamikaze birds rise

from camouflage to flap madly at the snow, steering

 

at the last minute to the fields. Flock after flock after

flock of northern rough-winged swallows ascend from safety

 

in dark clouds, frantic and disoriented. Have they ever seen a car?

The last bird of each flock tips at the last minute to float

 

sideways over the top. The first bird careens into the windshield,

thwack and smear. I assure myself it couldn’t possibly happen

 

again. Not twice. What’s the protocol? My brother would stop,

my friend says, gather feathers and eat the bird to honor its spirit.

 

But the shoulders of this two-lane highway are iced. So two

white women on The Rosebud Indian Reservation in a white

 

Subaru with packages of Creminelli Whiskey salami and Boschetto

cheese wrapped in brown paper keep flying along.

 

Two divorces each, young daughters, lovers out of reach.

As we mow through the flocks, the second bird thuds against glass.

 

Green guts, brown organs, down low. How many deaths in one day?

And like those foolish birds that opt for flight over security,

 

I think of the time my beloved and I were knitted together,

tucked in the velvet insides of a long-necked gourd

waiting out the rain. Thunder revving like an engine.

The first time, no one could blame me. Sheer numbers

 

alone, hundreds, one windshield. The second time I knew better.

Knew it would stick. I should have swerved, slowed down,

 

anticipated the waves of panic that dart and weave.

I’ve already taken too many wrong turns, and we’re running out

 

of time. My friend finds a burned white votive in her backpack,

balances it on the dashboard and lights it.

 

We pray for forgiveness at 60 mph during a ground blizzard in Sioux Lakota country.

After, there are no more flocks.

 

We are left with two smears that glow blue as the sun sets.

The sky electric pink, then purple, illuminating the price of every choice we’ve made.

 

 

 

 

Published in Talking River, Winter 2016

Writers@Work reading

As a former board member, I’ve been invited to read at the Writers@Work reading, Tuesday, January 24, at 7 p.m. in the upstairs room of the Marmalade Library (280 West 500 North, Salt Lake City, UT).

Join us to hear from the dedicated and devoted board members who volunteer their time and talents to keeping W@W a vibrant element of our local writing community.wwlogo-1

2016 Utah Original Writing Competition

A few pix from the 2016 Utah Original Writing Competition 2016 Utah Original Writing Competition Award Ceremony on November 5.

So thrilled to be awarded first place in poetry (Category E) for a suite of poems.

Winners of the 2016 Utah Original Writing Competition

Winners of the 2016 Utah Original Writing Competition

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With friends and fellow poets Shanan Ballam and Sunni Wilkinson

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With Shanan Ballam, Utah Arts Council Literary Arts Board Member and Lance Larsen, Utah Poet Laureate