Emerging poet Gordon Taylor “feels like a late bloomer”

Gordon Taylor’s poetry was catalyzed by a pair of journeys in healthcare:  his father’s illness and Taylor himself being diagnosed with cancer.

“I wrote a bit when I was a youth but then stopped,” he says.  “In 2018, my father got sick and during his illness I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Whatever poet was living inside me emerged.  Since 2018 I have been trying to grow as a poet.  Even though I’m middle aged, I feel like an emerging poet.  I feel like a late bloomer in a lot of ways.”

Taylor, who identifies as queer, grew up in Montreal.  A job presented itself in Toronto in technology so Taylor came to Toronto in the late 90s.  Taylor works in the technology field as a project manager.  He also works as a patient intake coordinator in sexual healthcare.  “That feeds my soul.”

Winning the first-ever Foundation Poetry Award, presented by Foundation partner the League of Canadian Poets, was what Taylor called “an acknowledgment of survival – both in terms of my health crisis and of losing my dad.  With poetry, I could create something that was lively and alive.”

Taylor enjoys making connections between disparate things

Taylor says he gets his inspiration from unexpected sources. “Like things my friends say. Sometimes headlines.  Occasionally pop songs,” he says.  “It can be something interesting that happens in the grocery store. Recently, there was a story on the BBC about two neighbours fighting over an evergreen. They cut it in half.  Sometimes we destroy what we love just to get our way, to be right. I wrote a poem about this called ‘Tree cut in half over driveway pigeon poo’.”

In his writing, Taylor enjoys making connections between disparate things.  “The ‘I’ or ‘eye’ of the poem is frequently related to what I see. Whatever you’re choosing to point out to the reader is always filtered through the lens of the writers own experience.”

Poets whom Taylor admires include Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong and African American Carl Phillips.  Taylor is currently working towards his Master of Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire, working with his mentor Alicia Stubbersfield.

Taylor hopes to publish a volume of his poems.  “I would love to publish a collection.  I have a slew of poems from the parallel healthcare journeys with a working title of ‘Patient’, which has a metaphoric resonance on a number of levels.”

Now enjoy Taylor’s award-winning poem:

‘Fresh Air’ by Gordon Taylor

Do I love you
more than I
an ampersand
that joins everything
we think can’t be
joined, two
part harmony
& the pigeon
that pooped
in my tea
as I walked
this morning,
font & Font
serif & fountain
twitchy twitter
alter egos, hash
tags & pink mini
green pulsing
northern lights,
asbestos threads
in ancient linoleum,
silence & swimming
pools & arms
twining almost
an eight, but
not quite, bone,
salt & jasmine, you,
careless and care
less, chemotherapy
& hot chocolate,
ozone & blue
burial shrouds,
lobsters & blood,
riots & purple
hibiscus, me &
you, memory, scars,
river stones, our
asymmetrical lungs.


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