Book Recommendation: Taylor Johnson - Inheritance
“Taylor Johnson holds hands with the unknowns in their rich debut collection of poems Inheritance.. … The poems are personal, not confessional so much as exploratory. ‘Sometimes I feel so outside. Then you invite me in.’ These poems do the same: they invite us in.” —Nina McLaughlin, The Boston Globe
"Private sound overrides private property in Inheritance, and all that we listen for is ours. Ownership and possession—of the language, the sound, the body, the family, the spirit—are sublimated by deep listening, the demand for a tone and way of hearing that pierces the material, forces its dispersion. What is inherited, instead of territory, is a listener and will to be heard that mandates music, that loves music enough to create it through listening. The notion of inheritance shifts, becomes Black and blank and exuberant. This gorgeous debut collection lets us eavesdrop on that shift, hear into the hearing and listening of one who is in tune enough to disappear into sound rather than trying to trap and possess it as identity. The guilt and guile of privately receiving everything and nothing through hearing it, the transverse greed of renunciation of what is heard through making it music, is anyone a mystic these days?, team to liberate the heart of this work from atonal longing. This is a world in tune with its own private, overheard, magic, at the risk of losing everything that might impede it, which is what we must risk to hear and transcribe true poetry." —Harmony Holiday
Taylor Johnson is from Washington, DC. Their poems appear in, or will appear in, The Baffler, Indiana Review, Scalawag, and The Paris Review. They've received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Conversation Literary Festival, among other organizations. Taylor lives in southern Louisiana where they listen.