Pamela Taylor is a data guru by day and a poet by night. She has a doctorate in social psychology from UCLA, a MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. When she is not working or writing, sheâ€™s dancing Argentine tango in the Boston area. HerÂ first chapbook of poetry, My Motherâ€™s Child, was published by Hyacinth Girl Press in June 2015.
You recently published your first book of poetry, My Motherâ€™s Child. Tell us a bit about this project and how it came about. Is this your first collection?
My Motherâ€™s Child is my first chapbook. I wrote these poems over a 5 year span. Until I put a collection together, I never understood it when poets said their books took them years to write. I think the earliest poem (â€œThe Climbâ€) was written in 2009 when I attended a small poetry generative workshop. Many of the poems about my professional life were written during my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Others, like the closing poem (â€œThereâ€™s a Graveyard in My Bellyâ€), were written during the week-long Cave Canem retreats for Black poets.
When I thought I had written enough poems to go into a book, I printed them out, put them in a logical order, and sent it out as a full collection. That strategy got me nowhere. So I focused on the poems I had gotten published in literary magazines and journals and a few others I thought were good poems. This time, I laid them out and let them speak to each other. The poems arranged themselves in two distinct groups. I sent both out as chapbooks to separate contests. This collection was a finalist for the Imaginary Friend Press chapbook competition. One of the readers, Margaret Bashaar, had her own press and asked if I would be willing to let her publish my collection with Hyacinth Girl Press.