John Taylor

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1952, John Taylor is is an American writer, critic, and translator. 

Taylor is the author of twelve collections of stories, short prose, and poetry, most recently Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2018) and a “double book” co-authored with the Swiss poet Pierre Chappuis, A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges (The Fortnightly Review Press, 2019). His other poetry collections are If Night Is Falling (Bitter Oleander Press, 2012) and The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos Books, 2004). 

As a polyglot literary critic, Taylor has long been a bridge between European literature and English-speaking countries. His essays have been gathered by Transaction Publishers in A Little Tour through European Poetry (2014); Into the Heart of European Poetry (2008); and his three-volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature (2004, 2007, 2011). The European Poetry collections cover modern verse and prose poetry from nearly all the European countries.

Taylor also translates modern Greek, Italian, and French literature. In 2013, he won the Raiziss-de Palchi Translation Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for his project to translate the poetry of the Italian poet Lorenzo Calogero—a book published as An Orchid Shining in the Hand: Selected Poems 1932–1960 (Chelsea Editions, 2015). His most recent translations are three books by Franca Mancinelli: The Butterfly Cemetery (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2022), At an Hour’s Sleep from Here (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2019), and The Little Book of Passage (The Bitter Oleander Press, 2018); Alfredo de Palchi’s Terminal Events (Xenos Books, 2020) and The Aesthetics of Equilibrium (Xenos Books, 2019); José-Flore Tappy’s Trás-os-Montes (The MadHat Press, 2021); as well as Philippe Jaccottet’s La Clarté Notre-Dame & The Last Book of the Madrigals (Seagull Books, 2022), Patches of Sunlight, or of Shadow (Seagull Books, 2020), Ponge, Pastures, Prairies (Black Square Editions, 2020), and A Calm Fire and Other Travel Writings (Seagull Books, 2019)​.

Of Taylor’s award-winning translation of Calogero’s Selected Poems, judge Barbara Carle wrote:

His distinct skill in recreating an analogous form mirroring the original, his respect for line breaks, alliteration, assonance, rhyme, syntax, and meaning, enables him to successfully transpose the Italian into English. His in-depth knowledge of both languages supplies him with the crucial balance needed for mastering the transaction between form and content. The translator must be humble, but inventive, bold, yet respectful, consistent, still willing to take risks from time to time. John Taylor’s translations reveal all these qualities and more.

Taylor’s other honors include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation.

Taylor moved to France in 1977 and currently lives in Saint-Barthélemy d’Anjou, France.