On Thursday, Nov. 3, Frankfort Audubon Chapter hosts Richard Taylor for readings from his new book, Rare Bird: Sonnets on the Life of John James Audubon. Beginning with a book signing at Poor Richard's bookstore at 4:30 p.m. and continuing with readings from the book starting at 6:30 at KY Coffeetree Caf, the public is invited to attend.
Dr. Richard Taylor is known to many locally as being co-owner of Poor Richard's Books, a former professor at KY State University now at Transylvania University, a community leader, citizen activist and jovial "rare bird" himself. Most all realize he is an accomplished author.
Richard Taylor's newest book, Rare Bird: Sonnets on the Life of John James Audubon is a fine letter-press collection of sonnets on the life of famed naturalist and painter of birds, John James Audubon. The publication includes two original wood engravings by accomplished engraver Wesley Bates of Ontario, Canada.
According to Richard, "The poems essentially follow Audubon's life and contain a good many specific references to particular species covered in Birds of America. I try to get at who he was and what made his artistic odyssey so monumental among the sagas of artists struggling during the l9th century. His is a great story, as you know, an American story of the triumph of art and individual will"
Scott Hankla, president of the local Audubon chapter, said "We are very excited about Richard Taylor's book of sonnets on the naturalist for whom the National Audubon Society is named. Frankfort Audubon is honored to host Dr. Taylor for this special event on Nov. 3."
Richard Taylor, Keenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania and a former Kentucky poet laureate (l999-2001) is the author of eight collections of poetry, two novels, and several non-fiction books, most relating to Kentucky history. Rare Bird is meant to explore Audubon's career from his birth in what is now Haiti, his time in France where he discovered his passion to depict birds, his coming to America and marriage to Lucy Bakewell, focusing on the rising trajectory of his career, which culminated with the publishing of his Birds of America. There are accounts of his interaction with naturalists John Bachman Alexander Wilson, and Constantine Rafinesque as well as accounts of his travels in search of new birds and the monumental publication of Birds of America, one of the artistic triumphs of the l9th century, indeed in the history of art. Using a timeline to place the reader, Taylor writes 86 poems that highlight key moments in the artist's life.
Beautifully printed and designed by Kentucky's finest letter-press printer, this first edition of Rare Bird is 550 copies in hardback and paper covers, with a very small limited edition that may be purchased through Gray Zeitz of Larkspur Press, 340 Sawdridge Creek West, Monterey, Kentucky 40359 or through Poor Richard's Books, 233 W. Broadway, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, the bookstore belonging to Taylor and his wife. Hardbound edition $36, paper $28. The special edition is still in process.
For info about Frankfort Audubon, email FrankfortAudubonChapter@gmail.com.