Muni Art 2020 - Tess Taylor Poet Page

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Train Through Colma

But will anyone teach
the new intelligence to miss
the apricot trees

that bloomed each spring
along these tracks?
Or the way afternoons

blazed with creosote
& ponderosa?
Spring evenings flare

with orange pixels
in the bay-scented valley—
where in the algorithm

will they account for
the rippling ponies
that roamed outside Fremont?

When the robots have souls,
will they feel longing?
When they feel longing,

will they write poems?

Tess Taylor, “Train through Colma.” Reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights reserved.
Muni Art 2020, San Francisco Beautiful,

Tess Taylor

Headshot of Muni Art 2020 Poet Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor's chapbook, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship. The San Francisco Chronicle called her first book, The Forage House, “stunning” and it was a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award. Her second book, Work & Days, was called “our moment’s Georgic” by critic Stephanie Burt and named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times. Taylor’s work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and The New York Times among others, and she’s received awards and fellowships from MacDowell, Headlands Center for the Arts, and The International Center for Jefferson Studies. Among other things Taylor is on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered. She served as Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was most recently the Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College. In spring 2020 she will publish two books of poems: Last West, part of Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, at the MoMA, and Rift Zone, from Red Hen Press. She grew up and lives again in El Cerrito, California.

Artist Interpretations

Electric street car with destination sign reading "Cemeteries" passing by an establishment with sign reading "Molloys"
Vanessa Fajardo

Drawing of a train with a snake's head running atop a bridge
Jocelyn Li Langrand

Stylized photo of abandoned pier posts along a waterfront with sliced orange overhead
Shannon Bodrogi

Colorful lines and squares alluding to the back of an envelope
Wendy Ackrell

Collage of images including a horse, a train, and people
Skooter Fein