Courtney Faye Taylor Recommends...

When my debut poetry collection, Concentrate, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, I moved from a space of writing to one of editing. The book’s release signals a return to my generative space, the creative mode that makes new work possible. As a writer, I turn to the following for inspiration:

Experimentation: I love visual poetics—using found objects as language for storytelling. My most recent project is an assemblage of text and images from Grambling State University’s 1991 yearbook, a find from a local thrift store. I feel revived when taking an interdisciplinary approach to writing. There are certain emotions that can only be felt when I test the bounds of form in this way.

Travel: I visit Detroit to see my line sisters. Charlotte to see my mother. Brooklyn to see my love. I’m appreciative of what travel offers me artistically—a chance to experience something new and, in turn, say something new. There’s the poet I am in Michigan, the poet I am in North Carolina, and the one I am in New York; each poet is distinct, each should speak.

My archive: I look through rough drafts, notes, deserted passages, free writes. Revisiting old words means inviting past voices back to me, contending with their preoccupations and wonders. This ritual has spurred some of my most intimate writing. I love that this is a result of being in conversation with myself. I want to remain in that dialogue forever. That’s what my poetry requires.
—Courtney Faye Taylor, author of Concentrate (Graywolf Press, 2022)  

Photo credit: Lucas Carpenter