Richard Tayson

Jamaica, NY 11432

Author's Bio

What motivates me to write is a sense that beneath the ordinary resides the ineffable, and so in my desire to probe and negotiate the unreachable I reject the oft-prescribed exhortation to write what I know. I prefer discomfort, especially as it relates to the violent distortion of language necessary to write anything new in a world of overmarketed linguistic permutations, and writing from a place of not-knowing—about AIDS, childbirth, interstellar space—compels my imagination forward and suits me just fine. I gravitate toward the place of overlap between the physical (the body, the world) and the mysterious (what we call “soul” and mind), and these various imbrications take my craft into directionless travels that often necessity research into previous eras that flow into contemporary realities. Experimentation, for me, often leads back to or is informed by traditional structures, whether socio-political or religious in nature.

Publications and Prizes

Look Up for Yes
(Viking, 1998)
, The Apprentice of Fever
(Kent State University Press, 1998)
, The World Underneath
(Kent State University Press, 2008)
American Poetry: Next Generation
(Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000)
, Best of Prairie Schooner
(University of Nebraska Press, 2001)
, Best of the Small Presses, XXI
(Pushcart Press, 1996)
, Family Matters: Poems of Our Families
(Bottom Dog Press, 2005)
, I Do/I Don't: Queers on Marriage
(Soft Skull Press, 2004)
, My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them
(University of Wisconsin Press, 2009)
, The Next of Us Is About to Be Born: In Celebration of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Wick Poetry Center
(Kent State University Press, 2009)
, The World in Us, Lesbian & Gay Poetry of the Next Wave
(St. Martin's Press, 2000)
, Things Shaped in Passing: More 'Poets for Life'
(Persea, 1997)
Advocate, Bloom, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Gay and Lesbian Review, Global City Review, Kenyon Review, Lambda Book Report, Michigan Quarterly Review, Night Sun, Paris Review, Pleiades, Virginia Quarterly Review, Washington Square
Prizes Won: 
The Wick Poetry Prize (1997) Pushcart Prize (1996) New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2003) Chancellor’s Fellowship from the City University of New York (2006) DC Center for the LGBT Community’s Smoking Words Poetry Competition, 2nd place (2011) Prairie Schooner’s Edward Stanley and Bernice Slote awards (1997 & 2004)

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Wonderful Investigations by Dan Beachy-Quick
Sea Change by Jorie Graham
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Gods Like Us by Ty Burr
The Dark Side of the Enlightenment by John V. Fleming

More Information

Listed as: 
Creative Nonfiction Writer, Poet
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
European American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Raised in: 
Medford, CA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Jul 12, 2013