Civil Twilight

Is First Prize Winner

Blue Light Press 2022 Poetry Prize

Editorial Reviews

Anique Sara Taylor’s award-winning collection is mesmerizing. Thirty poems, thirty words each, shimmer with a refined intensity at once both taut and expansive. Within this tight form, her emotional richness is as lyric as it is restrained. Grief’s shadow, loss-yet love of the stubborn, simple glories of existence, emerge as gifts of her inner iconography. These resonate with Taylor’s organic allusions to the natural world, her outer landscape. Starfish, eagles, crickets, thunderstorms, a sycamore tree-all conspirators in her survival story. “Half daughter, half swallow,” she writes, “if only I could tie down the corners of the air.” In Civil Twilight, she has done just that.- 
––Leslie T. Sharpe, Author of The Quarry Fox andOther Critters of the Wild Catskills

Civil Twilight is a stunningly crafted sequence of small poems that deliver both an architecture and music reminiscent of the stanza. Here, the reader will enter room after room of discovery to encounter “the perfume of his cherry tobacco,” or see “earthmites teethe shark-like through/ particles of sand.” These poems, like little vestibules, exist between those moments that illuminate the inner life. They exist between daylight and darkness, past and present, between the living and the dead, and between a daughter and the memory of a father. Taylor’s poems are keenly attuned to the language of the natural world and to all the mysteries that come with it.
––Sean Nevin, Author of Oblivio Gate 

…these brief poems filled, line by line, with such rich diction. [Taylor’s] formal gestures–30 words, five lines–keep the poems taut, & all those stresses, the insistent spondees throughout, emphasize the emotional resonance underlying the book: shy mouth nailed shut / sheets creased white / cockroach shells / quill-shaped mist / bones break naked / beaks crave rain / & etc. And so many lovely phrasings, all toward expressing & containing the undercurrent of grief. “Bittersweet,” she says. Yes.
––Michael Waters, Author of:
          Sinnerman (Etruscan Press)
          Border Lines: Poems of Migration (Knopf)

What lushness and how deep the sadness that lingers within these beautifully calibrated quintains/cinquains, each of the thirty syllables a measure of civil twilight and a measure of music–perhaps scanning time? The natural world is honored with diction that is rich and textural, like her art, and poems move with elegance “between anticipation and regret,” within (toward memories of the father) and outside. Beautiful work!  
––Mihaela Moscaliuc, Author of:
         Cemetery Ink (University of Pittsburgh Press) 
         Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press) 

Thought provoking use of language that transcends poetry. Talk about the stopping power of a 30/30! Each one of these magnificent pieces will take you to a different place, each time you read it. “unexpected colors everywhere into a flickering chorus.” Anique is dropping gems and manages to tell an entire story in 30 words. Buy this – for yourself and someone who loves, double entendre’, words, dreams, language, poetry, the unexpected in the ordinary … this is ACUTE. 
––Lillian Browne, Editor. The Reporter and Catskill Country magazine.

Feel Yourself Transformed. What is it about Anique Sara Taylor’s Civil Twilight that sears my brain? What is it that sends me into orbit like “glistening ribbons around Jupiter”? Maybe it’s Taylor’s emotionally ornate language that lures me into other dimensions. Maybe it’s because she seems to deliver her poems by hand, each like a personal note from a dear friend that grabs the heart. Consider the line “I foolishly hunt for shelter to hide from flying debris” from the poem “Luminous Anarchy.” Taylor conveys grief and other big emotions in her spare five-line poems. Try reading all 30 poems aloud in sequence and feel yourself transformed as you experience each poem one after another, woven together by great intimacy and rare musicality.
––Sharon Israel, Host of Planet Poet-Words in Space. Radio Show and Podcast .

…the poems and they are magical. Like stepping into the sacred nature of ordinary life and the vast mysteries of Spirit simultaneously, regarded  from different points of view. I am sitting of the sunny porch, reading with so much happiness.
––Julie Winter-Child, Author of Dancing Home
Co-founder of The Helix Training/Helix Ministry and Healing Works

Anique Sara Taylor’s Civil Twilight, which won the 2022 Blue Light Poetry Prize, is comprised of thirty thirty-word poems. I could offer up any of them as examples of the author’s linguistic cartwheels, so I’ll give you a taste: 

        ” Innumerable Halos

         After the full moon, corals unleash spores
         into underwater snowstorms. Cheetahs and
         wild dogs stalk their prey. Nocturnal migrants,
         singing warblers streak past lunar splendor
         while scientists count vanishing silhouettes.”

Taylor’s poems are the brushstrokes of a master painter who isn’t afraid of using neon colors when she feels like it.
––Tina Barry, Author of:
         Beautiful Raft, (Big Table Publishing)
         Mall Flower, (Big Table Publishing)