Phil Taggart at Bart’s Books in Ojai

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Despite a tough week at work following our moving house, I felt compelled to finally make it out to Bart’s Outlaw Poets series to hear Phil Taggart read. I’m glad I did. I have been looking for ways to relate to deeply personal subject matter in my own work, and was moved by Phil’s commitment to the same. He read from a number of his “Rick Poems”–poems about his severely schizophrenic brother–which ranged from language poetry to a spare, conversational style. It is hard for me to say in concrete terms what I took away tonight, but suffice it to say I have a deepened and renewed respect for what Rilke might call “the difficult”–and the need to bring it forth with dignity and restraint.