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In Pastorelles, John Taggart draws on the local culture of rural Pennsylvania to consider the permutations of the human mark. An abandoned one-room schoolhouse, a page from an accounting ledger, a covered bridge still in use: each offers a “glance / perhaps all that was ever possible” into what persists. With wry humor, these poems attend to the ecology of language in a season of drought.
“John Taggart has long been master of accumulating complexly layered patterns of sound and sense, and here he uses his formal powers with a perfect, unobtrusive authority. In these modest ‘songs’ of quiet reflection Taggart echoes the world in which he’s lived, making particular the mind and heart’s persistent need. If poetry has abiding value, and it has, it is because it can so articulate, as here, all that a life comes to care about—and all that it, so defined, ever is.” —Robert Creeley