I found Taylor on Twitter by chance; a mutual friend re-tweeted one of her pieces, and I fell in love with her style. I followed her and saw that she was hyping her upcoming chap with Variant Lit, Bloodwarm, and knew that I had to get it.
Bloodwarm is 23 pages in length and approximately 5×8 in size. The binding is the standard glue and DID crack under my bending. That being said, the pages all remained in their place so it’s not that big of a deal.
The cover is matte with gold foil accents, and is made out of a good cardstock. The feel and look is high quality and professional. My only “complaint” – if it could be called that – is the red text on the front and back covers. It’s of a hue that makes it difficult to read.
The paper looks like a 30lb cream, and stands up under both fountain pens and highlighters with zero bleed and no show through. The font appears to be 10pt Garamond, so you may need some readers for this.
This is a collection of poems which details the embodied experience of a Black woman in the United States – particularly the South. Taylor’s work isn’t technically dirty realism – but it’s certainly realism.
They say dynamite comes in small packages and that certainly holds true for Bloodwarm. It’s 23 pages of pure fire. Napalm. White Phosphorus.
This is not a collection for the White Liberal, the Devil’s Advocate or those who claim they can’t be racist because they got a Black ___insert relationship here___. This is a collection for those who have the desire enter into a Black woman’s embodied experience and have the spine to believe what she’s telling you.
This collection is immaculate; incredibly beautiful in its vulnerability and its trust as Taylor allows you into her heart and mind. It’s not something you read quickly – each piece needs to be sat with to mull over the deep symbolism.
The show stopper for me is “How I Take My Morning Tea.” It wasn’t until my third read through that I caught it – the almost invisible text between the stanzas. At first I thought it was a printing error, and rubbed my thumb along the text to see if it’d disappear. When it didn’t I brought the book right up to my nose to look at what was going on there.
There’s a hidden poem here!
To say I was thunderstruck is not an exaggeration. I immediately recognized that I was reading a hidden transcript (ala Scott’s Domination and the Arts of Resistance), a real-time Code Switch. The brilliant marriage between poetic realism and the Acadamy had me over the moon! This is the kind of shit that I really, really live for in my Academic life.
This whole collection is brilliant, and I’m thrilled to hear that Variant is doing another run! Congratulations Taylor!!!