Summer Postcard: Grace Teuila Evelyn Taylor’s Full Broken Bloom

 

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Full Broken Bloom, Grace Teuila Evelyn Taylor,Ala Press, 2017

 

I have unpacked my eyes

and have seen the sharks.

Licked their wounds

while they gnawed stars into my neck.

They exchanged no promises

only letters forming words.

 

from ‘sharks as lovers’

 

 

Grace Taylor, of Samoan, English and Japanese descent, has been writing poems since 14 and performing spoken-word poetry since 2008. Her second collection, Full Broken Bloom, is a gift for her son and a gift for herself. The son is between the seams of writing – the beloved to write from and towards.

The collection is a gift for self as it is steered by crucial turning points: by a decision not to be defined in relation to, or by men, and to nourish ways of being in the world. This is not a teaching handbook or poetry as lesson – on how to be a strong woman – but an acute and goose-bump reflection on scars and wounds (broken) and healing and self-recognition (bloom).

The collection marks the slowing down of the performance beat, an awareness of body, and ability to love self. Words scatter across the page, in various tonal hues, breathless and breath-taking because much is at stake here. Form is fractured and then drawn together in glorious little cohesions.

Poems navigate relations with men, gods and goddesses.  As Grace travels through the complexity of living and loving, with the overriding current of ‘bloom’ and ‘broken’ – we enter a rich poetry space that is all heart and feeling and revelation. I am very moved by this book.

 

I drag stars over the bones of the ocean

a necessity to one

and a grave to another

both created myths of me.

 

from ‘moon pulls the tide

 

It is fortunate

my jawline is not strong

lessons have made it malleable

a supple bone

that can flex her teeth

or bend to the kiss.

That can hold her tongue

and not destroy a man,

but allow him to fall into his own reckoning

a monument

no longer.

 

from ‘water: desert

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