“The power of the extracted image and the power of a timeless story…” says Simon Pettet, author of Lyrical Poetry. Mary Lou Taylor’s newest publication, In the Beginning, brings you biblical tales—a combination of the poet’s precise meditations on David Park’s delicately sinuous artistry, titled “Genesis Suite.”

This slender publication, put together by Frog on the Moon, a small press, consists of “fourteen stencil prints making a perfect thematic language to tell Bible stories,” as Grace Cavalieri from the Library of Congress puts it. She says, “I love Taylor’s In The Beginning, colorful and meaningful—complete with stunning worlds and visuals; it seems neither poem nor picture could live without the other.” Furthermore, Cavalieri says, “this is bright speech invested in lyric; with sheer lingual strength to make old legends new.”

In this new publication, you will find new poems by Mary Lou Taylor, who was inspired by David Park’s “Genesis Suite“, and as Grace Cavalieri mentions, “has formed a legacy you’ll come back to, for enlightenment and delight. You’ll want to reread, savor, and share this work of art…for the purest pleasure.”

In addition, here are comments from our First Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, (2009-2011) Nils Peterson, Professor Emeritus, San José State University. “To the exquisite prints created by David Park out of stories from Genesis, Mary Lou Taylor adds poems that give context and commentary. Sometimes she even speaks the imagined voices of the actors in that great drama. Together they make a remarkable book, a beautiful book, one that you will want on your shelf to look at and read again and again.”




Cain tilled the earth. Abel kept sheep.

Lord, I bring you fruits from the fertile ground.
Accept them with my respect and love. Cain knelt
before his God in reverential pose.

God refused his offering. I see your brother’s
blood in your mouth. You are a man of wrath.
I accept only Abel’s sheep. Cain became enraged.

Meeting Abel, blood in his eye, Cain lifted a stone.
I am bleeding, brother. Leave me enough to live.
But Cain no longer listened.

God questioned Cain. Where is your brother Abel?
Cain replied, I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?
Cain the first murderer; Able the first to die.

The Lord cursed Cain, saying, You have contaminated
the earth with your brother’s blood. It will no longer
be fruitful in your hands.

Cain left the Lord, banished now to wander, traveling
to the land of Nod, east of Eden.


DAVID PARK (March 17, 1911-September 20, 1960) was an American painter and a pioneer of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in painting during the 1950’s. A Park retrospective opens later this year at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art. It comes to SFMOMA in 2020.

Check out other paintings by this artist on the video in this blog.

POETRY WITH MARY LOU TAYLOR at the Montalvo Writer Series: Sunday, November 8, 2015

Join me on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 4:30 the Historic Villa at Montalvo Arts Center, where I’ll be reading from my new book, Bringing Home the Moon, published Aldrich Press, 2015. This event is FREE! Books will be available for purchase; beer and wine will be for sale, and light refreshments will be served. But first—please RSVP at the Montalvo site. All MUST RSVP at the Montalvo site. You can click the button to reach the Montalvo website.

Hope all of you can attend. See what some of my poet friends have to say about my new book, Bringing Home the Moon: Cover Art: Chuck Drew.

Bringing Home

“Mary Lou is one of my favorite poets,” raves Grace Cavalieri, radio host of The Poet and the Poem. “In Bringing Home the Moon, we have her past experience turned into poems boldly planned and implemented through the prism of memory….These are beautifully proportioned recollections you will read and then revisit.”

“We float through moments formative or formidable, touching or frightful, but all…lit with generous spirit and a graceful love of language” —Harry Lafnear

“This is THE poetry collection of the year!” —David Denny, first Poet Laureate of Cupertino

MLT at Montalvo


Remember when I said I planned to read new poetry every day? That has certainly gone by the board. I’m busy with what I came here to do; no time to read. All those Poetry magazines and old issues of Poets & Writers. The only one I’ve opened is the last; I’ve underlined all the presses I can send my manuscripts to. These days have run together. Day before yesterday I spent much of my time typing and arranging samples of Hollywood poems for the proposed anthology. With my letter to the presses I plan to include a packet of poems. It’s now the weekend.

Allie, my granddaughter, brought a picnic to my studio yesterday, and we enjoyed deli sandwiches and baked chips. She brought flowers, gerbera daisies that match the décor—orange, yellow and, of course, greens to go with the bouquet. We took a tour of Montalvo, umbrellas in hand. It’s a magnificent property—the Villa, Garden Theatre, Carriage House and Project Space, the gallery, which was open on Sunday. On exhibit was a project proposed for the grounds here, a slender platform sloping outward from the hillside and intended to float somewhere above the Garden Theatre sited on one of the hiking trails. It’s a project between “now and then,” the artist says. The platform seems to be made of bamboo or some very light wood.

I brought Roget’s Thesaurus as well as a dictionary (the studio has one) and a few books to read. I like Li-Young Lee, but what I brought turns out to be a memoir. Choose what you bring to a residency carefully. I live close by; I’ve been home twice to pick up this or that. The latest magazines are here now and ready to go. So I am searching through Poets & Writers for places to send my poems. One thing I don’t do is send out enough poems. They’ll never be published if I don’t. I did just that when I began to write and chose to contact some of the lesser-known journals. I have yet to send anything to prestigious small presses, so that’s another goal.

One catalog or book that would make a good reference is the publication put out every year that lists small presses, what they’re looking for, and what they’re not interested in. The local library could have one available, but I’d like to mark pages and keep it handy. That might be worth investing in.

It’s time for me to take up my yellow highlighter and look for a match between publisher and poet. Trees are tossing their limbs, the sky is dark, and spots of raindrops slant in on my picture window. We are waiting for a storm.

The storm came swirling in at 6:15 a.m. Lightning, thunder, and slashing rain. At 7:30 it’s still a downpour, and the trees outside my window bend and toss. A good day to curl up with one of my poetry books or magazines.

Today a guest, Sally Ashton, is joining me. We will work together on some of what I’m here for.  We plan to have conversations about the Hollywood anthology and my latest manuscript. While she’s looking both over, I intend to go over old scribbles. So far I may have found one poem.  Some of the writing I’ll transcribe later to tell my kids what it was like when they were small.  One guest is free at the artist residency. For two or more Montalvo requests a $20 payment..  We’ve been dining much as we would at Chez Panisse or Zuni’s. Wonderful food. Basmati rice.  Vegetables seasoned with curry leaves.  Farro, an ancient wheat, chewy and filling.  No dessert last night: I am losing weight. 

Tonight four kinds of pizza, and we had a piece of each.  Will gain that weight right back.  A lettuce salad, but never just lettuce.  Always some exotic leaf with a simple dressing. Olive oil is of great importance to Michelle.  She is trying several to find the one she’ll buy in bulk. She’s here for a full year and making the most of it. The salad today had a wintergreen taste, but that could have been the dressing.  Always different, always delicious.

We set the table with china, silver, wine glasses, and our own napkins with napkin rings marked to match our studios.  Some who like to cook help Michelle. After dinner we are all in the kitchen on clean-up duty.  A pleasant and efficient set-up.


…At our high school reunion a classmate
asked me: Weren’t you valedictorian?
Someone remembered. Pleased,
I turned to hear her next words:

What have you done since?

I haven’t written the Great American Novel. Nor become a famous figure. But I have found my avocation—writing poetry. And those of us who do find it pretty well fills up our lives. 

In January, Montalvo Arts Center offered me a residency. What do you do with pure time on your hands? I’m planning every minute: finishing my manuscript; sending out poems; looking at past writing to find a good line or a poem I’ve overlooked; contacting different presses to see if they’re interested in backing my collection of poems about Hollywood, stars and movies written by poets from John Ashbury to Robert Hass. One of the best, about Elvis and a waitress, was written by Joyce Carol Oates.

I have signed permission from Bob Hass, Brenda Hillman, Denise Duhamel, Nils Peterson, and Ed Smallfield to use their Hollywood poems. But Denise tells me that I’ll need a press before the publishers will allow any reprints, so I’ll be working on that. Anyone else out there with Hollywood poems? I’d love to take a look at them:

The launch of The Call: An Anthology of Women’s Writing, Dragonfly Press, Columbia, CA, came about in December, 2009. You’ll recognize names of some of the poets and short story writers: Parthenia Hicks, Jean Emerson, Kathie Isaac-Luke, Carolyn Dille, Calder Lowe, and me. Hope you’ll look for it. How we miss Willow Glen Books!