"Unsparingly personal and objectively incisive, Tayve Neese’s poems reverberate with the disintegration, on the one hand, of a marriage, on the other, of our planet as, indifferent to our bequest, to all that is sacred, we stagger toward extinction. The poet’s registers echo those of “The Tui of New Zealand,” which “has two voice boxes / making two / distinct songs: // one blossoms / sorrow, / one reeks / of joy,” (“I Know This Polarity”), embracing everything in between. On her path to reconciliation and redemption, she sings the natural and the supernatural—enigmatic, palliative, maternal—as the pungent, sinuous lyrics of Evolution Psalms affirm our provenance in the primeval."
-Bhisham Bherwani, author of The Second Night of the Spirt and The Circling Canopy
"Tayve Neese’s Evolution Psalms are, indeed, poetic praises to nature’s evolving creatures in all their glory. However, this collection could also be named “The Psalmist’s Evolution.” Instead of crying out to the silence of King David’s patriarchal God that has deserted him in the Old Testament, these psalms find a holy presence in the “gaseous beckon” of a “vibrating star” that “gives some direction,” in a “baby whale thinking [a] yacht its mother,” and in a “sea snail egg [that] “grew and hatched inside a boy’s knee.” These organic connections between all things stand in contrast to the false assumption that the sacred and the profane were ever separate. Psalmist Neese asserts, “it is my body in which you make your home.” These poems reach down into our collective unconscious. Reading them will manifest their truth in our bodies."
-Terry Lucas, author of Dharma Rain
"Tayve Neese’s laconic, dynamic, rhythmically impeccable poems evolve with the determination of banyan tree roots, bound only by the mesmerizing pulse of metamorphosis – skeletal, igneous, stellar, emotional. Their tapestry is filled with scale-defying wonders – a horseshoe crab, a feather, or a molecule of salt – relying on each other for space to coil around, to fork through, to nest in; representing love itself in its incessant earthly movement. Evolution Psalms is an unforgettable book capable of refocusing and refreshing the reader's vision."
-Irina Mashinski, co-editor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
"Tayve Neese has left the cave and returned. She has brought us poems that present dimensions beyond our rudimentary three. She has brought us the thing at the very core of the colors we know that serves as their engine—and as many of them as there are hues. She has brought us not bird flight, that celestial intimation, but a way to see ourselves as we are:, always in flight, better-than-mimicking with minds and hearts the hawks that surf thermals, the nuthatches that Spider-man trees, the swans that stroke through the fog that announces them, outdoing all with an essence that has never been adequately named. She has translated a sense of the Good in these readings of a dozen poems that we, without the assistance of a Rosetta Stone, must translate, the labor not seeming like work but deliverance."
-Matt Mauch, author of We're the flownover. We come from flyoverland.
(produced by Mark Ari & Natasha Kane
cover by Hadley Hendrix)
"Without denying body and blood, Tayve Neese writes poems that examine the possibility of turning from our worst natures to something more fruitful and even redemptive. The imagery and the vision are brave and strong."
-Carol Frost, author of Alias City
"Tayve Neese's Blood to Fruit is made of poems that are taut, precisely built words, almost everyone of them somehow both ravishing and haunting, stunning and foreboding. So many of the poems are about birth, motherhood or daughterhood- but where there 's birth, lest we forget, there's death, looming just outside the door. Neese writes, The ground will swallow you because it is hungry. That's about right. Something reckless about these poems; something wild and awful. And something utterly beautiful too."
-Ross Gay, author of Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude
"Fierce and unsettling, the poems in Blood to Fruit are filled with primal grief and a powerful drive toward life that spans many times and places. The landscape is one of scarcity but with recurring images of womanhood and fertility-egg, moon, fruit, womb-and the language roots itself powerfully in universal elements (Red moon a rotting Ibis egg- /I still wait for hatch and flight,/ sound of plumage...). Often implicating the reader (you) in their mysterious, often violent, imagery, the poems then turn to a more tender, biographical territory. These are poems that will wake you to another world, the one inside this one. A stunning debut."
-Joan Houlihan, author of It Isn't a Ghost If It Lives in Your Chest
"Blood to Fruit, by Tayve Neese, is a book of scent and bleat and moan and ripple and every other human sense that every mother looses/ to God. Open this book to any page and find your senses awakened. Indeed, this book, whose ambition is to turn a soiled thing holy, to find the arc of your belly,/ your bold milk to open our eyes and throats. Why such attention to the senses, one may ask? Why speak-and with such passion-the language of the body? 'A single screw of flesh is all that pins the soul,' Emily Dickinson taught us, and Tayve Neese is fully aware of that. She is a poet whose ear is marvelous and whose spell is brave. This is a gorgeous book."
-Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
Mention of Stern's impact on American poetry in The New York Times
Nomination for 2021 Pushcart Prize by Pirene's Fountain for her "In spring, my denial still will not thaw." Vol. 14, Issue 22
evolution psalms is a finalist for the 2021 Hudson Prize with Black Lawrence Press
Locust is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry
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