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The World Underneath Paperback – February 6, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Kent State Univ Pr; 1st edition (February 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873389484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873389488
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,809,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"It's a rare treat when a poet achieves such mature work as these gritty poems, celebrating his epiphanic moments, among them the miracles of childbirth and his blissful life with his lover.... What makes these poems even more satisfying is how they burst into flame, into verbal explosions, scattering a glitter of magic." -- Edward Field

From the Back Cover

An intimate second book of poems

"Reading Richard Tayson's The World Underneath rejoices my heart and gives me a little hope for both humanity and poetry. I read with awe the sequence in which this gay poet attends his sister-in-law's home delivery of a son, after flying `over one of the nineteen states that still puts people like me in prison. O Texas, O Tennessee, sweet Georgia with your one-to-twenty years felony.' Tayson's language is fast-moving, passionate, compassionate--alive with physical, spiritual and political detail that makes him heir to Muriel Rukeyser."--Alicia Ostriker

"Richard Tayson sees the world through the eyes of a man dedicated to love. His poems walk the walk of a poet willing to open that world and look at it for what it is, its joys and terrors, even when he must look at his own dark insides. I especially rejoice for his poems of intimacy and friendship with women, women who he sees not as `other', but as people struggling with the same concerns that he has. This sensibility is a rare contribution to our literature! In a life-threatening moment, he gains a clear vantage, `you climb higher, get a wide view of the world's delicacies, love. . . .' In The World Underneath, the poems are all love poems whose beauty and authority convince me of the depth of the poet's journey. His poems are easy to enter--you may feel that you are talking to a best friend--so easy to enter you might not notice the twin knives of truth and lyricism they have been held up to."--Toi Derricotte

"Richard Tayson's The World Underneath is a series of passionate visions, stunning in their directness and emotional power. They bear witness to birth and the body's miracles, to homophobic violence and unspeakable losses, and to the tensile strength of love and loyalty that connects us against the odds. Awe and fierce anger sing in these poems, as the questing spirit in them seeks to grow large enough to include us all."--Joan Larkin

"It's a rare treat when a poet achieves such mature work as these gritty poems, celebrating his epiphanic moments, among them the miracles of childbirth and his blissful life with his lover. Even his dark rage against the injustice of homophobic violence comes not out of weakness but from strength. What makes these poems even more satisfying is how they burst into flame, into verbal explosions, scattering a glitter of magic."--Edward Field

More About the Author

Richard Tayson's second book of poetry is The World Underneath (Kent State University Press, 2008). His first book of poetry, The Apprentice of Fever (Kent State University Press, 1998), was the 1997 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize winner. Tayson's other awards include a Chancellor's Fellowship from CUNY's Graduate Center, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, Prairie Schooner's Edward Stanley and Bernice Slote awards, a Pushcart Prize. His poems appear in over fifty publications in five countries, including the Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, American Poetry: The Next Generation; Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on Their Muses; Poetry Nation (Canada); Jugular Defences (England); and Best of Prairie Schooner. His coauthored book of non-fiction, Look Up for Yes (Viking-Penguin, 1998), appeared on bestseller lists in Germany, and has been included in Reader's Digest's Today's Best Nonfiction in the United States and Australia. Tayson is Part Time Associate Professor at The New School and was awarded a Ph.D. from CUNY's Graduate Center in 2012.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I love this book of poems!

The poet's vision in The World Underneath shimmers with an essential optimism that wavers at times but never wanes as Tayson plumbs our mysteries-- of birth and death-- of love and fear-- with power and passion.

In his hands, real 'everyday' language attains the natural authority of an engaged, sometimes fiery conversation between two good friends. The personal is always present here, pointing toward a renewed way of experiencing each other, and reminding us that we are all "connected underneath."

A wonderful book to read and reread, and to pass along to friends!
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