El Dorado County's Inaugural Poet Laureate, Taylor Graham, delivers a fine book written during her two year tenure as the regions finest wordsmith.  You will not find urban scenes here. Nor will you find modern machinations of current society.  What is captured here is the raw beauty of the land Taylor has grown to love. There are tales of Indian Chiefs, miners, all manner of nature and, most of all, our past which guides us every day.  Take a moment and step back in time, it is a journey well worth traveling.

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“This is my office. It has to do/with the work of seeing, telling./ It has to do with wonder/and praise.” From words of Taylor Graham’s first poem in her book Windows Of Time And Place. Poems of El Dorado County; a guide book of the poet’s perceptions of the Sierra Nevada mountains and foothills, its present and past. Graham’s fieldwork in search-in-rescue, her background as a reporter, have informed much of her poetry with wide-ranging observations and insights. She writes about landscapes and history, bonds between generations common to the land. Her observations mark the area’s reputation for the discovery of gold in 1848. Noteworthy people and places such as the life and legend of Coppa Hembo, last chief of the Hill Nisenan, and Wakamatsu, the first Japanese settlement in California, are highlighted in poetic verse. These are pages of deep observation of the relationship of people and their environment. Not just a matter of place but a reclaiming of the homeland of a historical destiny, a literary work testifying to a search for self. The poet ponders in her poem, Patience, Hwy 50 Wagon Train 2016, “Might I learn patience/from horses, from ponderosa just standing.”

                                                                                                    Lara Gularte, Poet/Writer
                                                                                                    Kissing The Bee

 

Within these pages lives breathing evidence of the boots-on-the-ground poet Taylor Graham truly exemplifies. The first Poet Laureate of El Dorado County could not have been anyone else. She is of the land and so by extension is her work.

Taylor can whip up a poem in a moment on any subject that you throw at her, yet she can also spend days crafting a single line. Writing is in her blood and the act of writing itself, I believe, is an everyday necessity for her like breathing or drinking water is to the rest of us. That necessity, that immediacy is present in her work. The ability to make the commonplace grand and the grand accessible is a rare talent. Taylor possesses this talent and it comes through in her impressive body of work.

Taylor’s time serving the poetry community, and especially her time as Poet Laureate will continue to be a yardstick with which, not only future Poets Laureate will measure themselves, but also any poets that truly connect with their environment and community. Her service to the written word in her community has been immeasurable to so many. It has been an honor knowing her and a pleasure enjoying her many works.

                                                                                                    Andrew Vondershmitt
                                                                                                    Program Manager
                                                                                                    Arts and Culture El Dorado