Read This: Keith Taylor's All the Time You Want: Selected Poems, 1977 - 2017

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture


You know how a book of poems grabs you and doesn't let go? 

Read This: Keith Taylor's All the Time You Want

I first met renowned poet Keith Taylor at a Michigan poetry reading at one of our local Kalamazoo bookstores, This is a Bookstore, in 2017. The room was absolutely full, but we were lucky to get there early enough to snag a seat. From the start, when Taylor started talking, and reading his poetry, the room was entranced. We loved the stories and the poetry and the convivial atmosphere that was so joyful in celebrating his poems and stories. I walked away that evening with not only a new book to dive into and a new author to read, but words that absolutely sang through my mind.

Read This: Keith Taylor's All the Time You Want

Enter his latest book, All the Time You Want: Selected Poems, 1977 - 2017, published by Dzanc Books.


The poems range in time, scope, location, and shape. What they all contain are worlds within.

I especially love the beginning of the poem entitled Directions to North Fishtail Bay:

If you paddle down past
the point where the eagles 
hang out, you're almost there.
It's best like this-a hint
of fog flittering across
the lake before a breeze.
No sun, sky gray, but calm, 
not a ripple or a wave.

Uncharacteristically for me (don't mark a book!!), with each poem, I penciled near favorite phrases, starred words that resonated with me, and folded in corners. What?! Yes.

This is a book to be cherished, re-read, read out loud, and submerging yourself into time and time again. 

This book of poetry is a gift to your mind, to your soul, to your bookshelf of favorites.

Highly, highly recommended!

Keith Taylor is originally from Western Canada, but has lived for the past 50 years in Michigan. He has authored or edited 20 books and chapbooks. Before the very recently published All the Time You Want: Selected Poems 1977 – 2017, and the brand new collection What Can the Matter Be?, his last full length collection, The Bird-while (Wayne State University Press, 2017), won the Bronze medal for the Foreword/Indies Poetry Book of the Year. His poems, stories, reviews, essays and translations have appeared widely in North America and in Europe. Six years ago he retired from the University of Michigan, where he taught Creative Writing for 20 years. Before that he worked as a bookseller in Ann Arbor for another 20 years. Taylor has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. He has been Writer/Artist In Residence at Isle Royale National Park (twice), the Detroit YMCA, The International Writers’ and Translators’ Centre of Rhodes, Greece, the University of Michigan Biological Station, and Greenhills School.

Read This: Keith Taylor's All the Time You Want

We were lucky enough to chat with Taylor, and ask him about his latest book, inspiration, and more. Here's what he had to say...

Please tell us about your latest book, All the Time You Want...
All the Time You Want: Selected Poems, 1977 - 2017, gave me a chance to pick a representative sample from 40 years of work. 

What inspired you to pull together this selected book of your poems?
Dzanc Books asked for a larger representative collection. At first they thought they might do a "collected poems," but I didn't feel ready for that, partly because I am still working and still publishing, even though I might be entering my "golden years." The interesting thing about doing the Selected, and doing it in a mostly chronological way, is that I discovered connections and echoes that have followed me throughout my working life. I learned things about myself.

I absolutely love the vibrant movement in the poems, as well as all the nature! As someone who also lives in Michigan, this resonated so deeply with me. How do you hope that readers incorporate such phenomenological inspiration in their lives?
One of those surprises is that I am less of a "nature writer" than I thought I was. I think that if I have any reputation at all it is as a "Michigan nature writer" or "a nature writer of the Upper Great Lakes." I am fine with that, even proud of it. But so much of the Selected has other kinds of poems -- family history poems, poems on the visual arts, travel poems, etc. Yet a certain voice and a set of images seems to connect it all. I was really pleased to discover that.

I have lived in this particular place for 50 years now and I am committed to it. Michigan is fascinating, because it stretches from a post-industrial city recovering from economic collapse, to the very edge of the last great wilderness on earth, the Canadian subarctic. All of this is important to me, and I think a sense of the history and the hope for the this place can help people in other places too. Plus, we have the Great Lakes! There is nothing like them anywhere in the world!

How can people find your work?
My books are available on the big online sites (Amazon, etc.) and are certainly orderable from your local bookshops. The bookshops in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Literati Bookshop and Schulers Books) always carry a representative sample of my work.

You can find me online at

What's up next for you?
I have another book, What Can the Matter Be?, coming out from Wayne State University Press this Fall. These are poems I've written since 2017, for the most part, which makes it my "Covid book." I have tried to put these poems in a kind of order, one that starts fairly bleak and moves toward moments of hope.



Author photo: Doug Coomb, published with permission