Looking After: Poems by Ann Taylor


This collection explores many subjects that demand looking after – family, artistic achievements including literature, the natural world, memories, history, and others that call for tending to. It also focuses on the complexities of this engagement – when easy, when difficult, when the subjects are shaded by emotion or the effects of time. Then too there is the looking after, as in afterwards, the reflection on things gone by. These poems cover a broad range – small personal experiences to the grander occasions of life, and the memories of life. They explore the multi-faceted subject of alert custodianship – the necessity of paying daily attention, while at the same time tending to the past already lived.

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  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 108
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: February, 2024
  • ISBN 978-1-953252-98-2


Observers, who discern their objects deeply, ignite the natural and the fashioned world alike with their singular powers. From echolocation, to the robe collection for an Infant of Prague statue, to all-night talk radio, to Achilles’ one act of mercy, to the wing of Da Vinci’s Gabriel, to a bobolink, to Darwin’s earthworms, to Wild Bill Hickok’s death chair, Ann Taylor knows what she is about and how her perception alters everything. Time does not impede this poet. Nor range. Somehow, from the smallest of details, Taylor, with her smooth, gliding cadence, summons up a grandeur in these poetic marvels that both comforts and compels. —Dennis Daly 

You can’t make this stuff up, goes the saying, and poet Ann Taylor doesn’t. Rather, she takes notice, mining ordinary encounters for riches in this book. She perceives irony in her banker father’s joy divining after hours with his metal detector. She muses that arrowheads and gold nuggets hawked along Route 66 during family trips must have been counterfeit. With curiosity, she ponders the seeming weight of DaVinci’s angel’s wings and the remnants at a plane crash site in Maine. Among her pastiche of subjects, family members also receive consideration—a nonagenarian mother’s decline and an 8-month-old’s explorations. Pick up this captivating volume, Taylor’s invitation to observe and reflect, to frown and chuckle, and to become more aware in life’s pageant. —Dianne Silvestri

Seeing a new poetry collection from Ann Taylor always makes me happy. Her new collection, Looking After, is sure to make poetry lovers stand up and take notice. The poem that gives its name to the collection, Looking After, may just be my favorite, though the whimsical Orders from Your Fairy Godmother is wonderful too. In fact, every poem in the collection is wonderful. If you love poetry, you’ll be glad you read this collection. —Meredith Allard


She Made the Singer Sing

From a custom-cut, pinned
mound of slipcover fabric,
Aunt Mary could stitch
a couch in an hour –
backpanels, skirts, arm pieces,
all aligned with the beasts,
plants, patterns, tales in the cloth.

Chatting with me,
her inexpert cord-cutter,
she roared the foot-treadle motor,
drew out the emerging couch
with the speedy industrial needle,
tried to make me
her stitcher’s apprentice.

Drawn by her patience
and her ease with the Singer,
I too tried, but feared
the drag of that drive.
Safer, I ironed, then folded
her work for delivery.

Hating now my peeling faux-leather
couch, I long for a custom slipcover,
maybe with a Renaissance scroll.

I wish for her to be here,
trying to guide my fumbling fingers,
(and maybe whipping up a couch for me).


Ann TaylorA long-time Professor of English at Salem State University in Massachusetts, Ann Taylor has written two books on college composition, academic and free-lance essays, and a collection of personal essays, Watching Birds: Reflections on the Wing. Her first poetry book, The River Within, won first prize in the 2011 Cathlamet Poetry competition at Ravenna Press. A chapbook, Bound Each to Each, was published in 2013. Her collection, Héloïse and Abélard: the Exquisite Truth, published in 2018, is based on the twelfth-century story of their lives, and her most recent collection, Sortings, was published by Dos Madres Press, in 2020. She is currently at work on a collection of poems focusing on Horn Pond in Woburn, Massachusetts (Horn Pond: The Way I See It), near which she grew up and where she now lives again.

Additional information

Weight 8.6 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in