June 18, 2014
I would like this artist’s info emailed to me:
At age 17, Claudia Taylor is already an accomplished poet who carved herself a niche in the Vineyard poetry community. Claudia started writing at the age of 12 and began reading her work last year, appearing as a regular at poetry nights. She is a two-time winner of the Vineyard’s Promising Young Poets award, and a finalist, in the top 1% of applicants, for the international Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award for the past two years. Claudia amazes audiences with her depth and emotion, and additionally plays guitar, clarinet, and sings.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What made you want to participate in this project?
Not only am I interested in writing poetry in general; I also find this project
fascinating and “right up my alley.” I’ve always been involved in multiple
areas of the arts. I also have synesthesia (which is quite literally a blending
of the senses). I find that ConSenses is very much suited to who I am.
Without going back to the fragrance what do you remember about it?
It smelled somewhat exotic (but woodsy, not tropical) and had a more
abrasive scent than more floral fragrances.
What was your first reaction to the fragrance? (thoughts, emotions,
memories, tastes, smells etc?)
I’m used to flowery fragrances, so I found this scent quite striking and
elegant. It had a punch to it when I first smelled it, and then it mellowed
into something softer, darker, earthier.
If you had to choose one word to sum up the fragrance what would it
What emotion did it elicit?
It smelled almost like a sweet kind of pain.
What was the fragrance about in your mind? (Did it tell a story? Paint a
I thought of what it can be like in general to talk frankly about pain, and
to see beauty in it (whether that beauty is justified or not).
Take me through each step of your process from getting the fragrance
to the creation of your work.
I spent a while just smelling the fragrance without deliberately trying to
think about what I would write about.
What did you title your work and why?
I titled my poem “Felling” (not a typo!). Felling, of course, is the act of
cutting down a tree, which ties in with the nature theme of the poem. The
poem (I’ll try not to give too much away) expresses the process of dying or
fading away in some way (with elements of nature serving as metaphors). Felling, then, is one way to represent that final moment on earth. It also
could be seen as a metaphor for someone “dropping dead.”
What part of your work came to you first?
The parts about nature and pain were a given for writing the poem; I had
those in my mind first. There was a line of poetry I’d had in my head for a
while (the first line of the poem), and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.
I used it and wrote from there.
How do you normally create? How was this experience different?
This experience was fairly similar to the way I normally write my poems. I’ll
take a certain phrase that’s been floating around in my head and attach
it to a general idea, often inspired by something sensory like a taste or an
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express your
I used simple, direct words like “look” and “now” and “see here” to grab
attention, almost like a how a child points to a cut on his knee. Then, once
the reader was paying attention, I could talk more elaborately about the
emotions of the narrator. Setting up a sort of parallel metaphor between
the narrator’s emotional and physical deterioration as well as the
deterioration of nature allowed me to talk somewhat euphemistically
about the darker underlying motifs in the poem.
Are there certain choices you made which mean something specific
to you that the observer might not know?
“The leaves are in on it” is one of the more confusing lines in the poem;
what I mean to say it that the leaves are red too, just like the narrator’s
eyes, as if they’re all in on this “game” or “trend” of turning red. Metaphors,
of course, are always open to interpretation, and my poem is basically
one big metaphor. Readers might not catch on to the fact that I was
talking about self-harm in the first stanza and eating disorders in the
second and third. Of course, if they have a different interpretation, that in
itself changes the whole meaning of the poem.