You can order Musicolepsy from Shoestring Press’s website, here.
” … a sophisticated and urbane volume which, broadly speaking, is built upon the poet’s twin fascinations with astronomy and music …. Taylor is a subtle, intelligent and richly allusive poet …. Taylor can evoke and articulate quite brilliantly the nature of particular musical works” (Glyn Pursglove, in Acumen Magazine).
“Jonathan Taylor’s first poetry collection orbits the two planets of astronomy and classical music …. Monumental pieces of music are intelligently dissected to get at the heart of what makes them resonate so lastingly …. Taylor’s absorbing passion for his subjects and his gift for communicating the warp and weft of the universe – and the way music entwines itself round your brain – make it rewarding” (Robin Lewis, in Leftlion Magazine).
“An impressive and most engaging collection of poems …. There is very effective subtleness and control to his work” (Peter Thabit Jones, in The Seventh Quarry Magazine).
“This bristles with erudition … a wealth of inventiveness …. I … enjoyed tussling with the volume as a whole, especially the risky ambition of its enterprise” (Noel Williams, in Orbis Magazine).
“Science, particularly astronomy, is … expanding our vision and providing images for Taylor to bend adroitly …. Taylor [uses] … adroit wit and observation …. Taylor provides us with insights that we know but always need to know anew” (Kalyna Review).
“A confident first collection … engaging, ambitious poems” (Lawrence Sail, in The Warwick Review).
“Technically slick … subjects are handled with care, sensitivity, intelligence and a clear understanding of rhythm and the technical aspects of poetry” (Emma Lee).
“Wonderful poetry with a cosmological and musical theme. Art with a heart” (Matt Merritt).
Below are a couple of poems which feature in Musicolepsy:
Black Hole in B-Flat
“Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found, for the first time, sound waves from a supermassive black hole ….” (N.A.S.A., September 9th, 2003)
For 2.5 billion years you’ve groaned,
B-flat 57 octaves below middle-C.
For 2.5 billion years you’ve moaned
for no one, because no one
could hear you from Perseus Cluster,
250 million light years away,
your galactic ground-bass a million billion
times lower than human hearing,
dog hearing, even Keplerian hearing,
who would have been hard pushed
to retain an equal temperament
in the face of such monotony –
more monkish medieval drone
than planetary polyphony,
as if Palestrina never happened,
and Bach dozed off at the organ
shortly after the Big Bang,
his elbow resting on a pedal point
over which he dreamt his flickering fugues,
short-lived as novas,
short-lived as life,
short-lived as anything but you,
sucked back down
into your B-flat abyss.
For My Father
… but Purcell’s Dido’s lament –
When I am laid in earth,
May my wrongs create
No trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate,
– never seems to finish,
and the five-bar basso ostinato,
recurs again and again,
closing like a trap on the Carthage Queen,
remembering what she wants forgotten,
the 3/2 rhythm persisting,
long after the record has finished,
chaconning my footsteps
towards the C.D. player
and the Eject button,
which can’t eject the ostinato
from my head, and can’t stop me
remembering the Queen’s fate
encased within it –
the slit wrists, the betrayal,
all that Aeneid balls-up –
And I know what the circling ostinato tells me:
that, despite those seven last words,
her fate is to be remembered for her fate,
to be immortalised for nothing else;
and I know too that grief,
the ground-bass to all our memories,
all too often memorialises by mistake
the fate, the last illness, the how,
and not the who or what.