The Poet Behind World Class Poetry
Hi. I'm Allen Taylor.
From the age of 10 I've aspired to be a creative writer. As a child, I wanted to write fiction, but I discovered poetry while in college.
My first heroes were novelists - Beverly Cleary, Agatha Christie, Peter Benchley, Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, just to name a few.
After graduating from high school in 1984, I joined the Army. I left the Army in 1987 and went to college, first to Richland College in Dallas, Texas, then to the University of Texas at Dallas. It was there that I started writing poetry.
I took my first poetry workshop with
Sheryl St. Germain.
I fell in love - not with Sheryl, but with the craft. I made it my life. Sheryl introduced me to Satan Says
and I was hooked.
knocked off of my feet. Sharon Olds opened my imagination and inspired me to write my first poem, "Threesome". The poem blew my fellow workshop participants away. Half of them returned the poem without critique. I felt free - and somewhat evil.
In those days I would spend hours writing. By hand. Yes, traditional pen and paper. Then, once composed, I would type my poems into my Canon word processor and edit them, line by line, with a pencil. Then I'd go back and retype and reprint them. I'd do this over and over again until each poem was just the way I wanted it. The process took hours just to write one poem. There were days when I wouldn't even leave the house. I'd spend 15 hours writing, taking breaks only to eat, shower and take care of necessary bodily functions. Needless to say, that painstaking process - plus the fact that I read everything I could get my hands on - trained me to write poetry.
Well, you know, things change. People change. The world - it changes. You know the line (wink wink).
Long story short, I had a Bob Dylan moment. "After the Flood" sort of thing. I became a Christian, nearly against my will.
If that sounds weird, I understand. But, it happens. The experienced caused me to stop writing poetry for awhile. In fact, I burned almost all of my poems writtent to that point, including the Olds-inspired poem. You could say I got a case of religious pyromania.
About three years later, I started writing poetry again (I just couldn't get it out of my system!) It was mostly religious verse. Some of it was good, but I don't think any of it was nearly as good as the poetry I had written between 1989 and 1992.
I continued to write poetry off and on for a number of years but didn't seek publication. Not much. Only sporadically.
In 1997, I joined the National Guard. Huge mistake.
I thought I might be used to do a few useful things for my state - Texas - and local community. I became an officer and spent some time in training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
In July 2004, my National Guard unit was activated and by January 2005 I was in Iraq helping George W. Bush build his legacy.
I returned home in December 2005 and joined my wife in Pennsylvania, her home state. We now live in a rural community in Adams County, Pennsylvania, aka "Dutch Country." When I am not writing or working World Class Poetry, I am playing with my three grandchildren and cursing Republicans.
Read Some of Allen Taylor's Poetry
How To Write A Poem
(scroll to the bottom of the page)
Love and War