Skip to content

Leaning toward Light: Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them

Within the pages of this exquisite poetry anthology, Leaning toward Light: Poems for Gardens & the Hands That Tend Them, you’ll find a heartfelt and welcoming array of poems, representing diverse voices that resonate with our shared desire to nurture, cultivate, and mend—a poignant celebration of our profound bond with the verdant realm. The cultivated poems by Tess Taylor will sprout inspiration for readers.

“Gardening is like poetry in that it is gratuitous, and also that it cannot be done on will alone,” the poet and passionate gardener May Sarton wrote as she contemplated the parallels between these two creative practices — parallels that have led centuries of beloved writers to reverence the garden. No wonder Emily Dickinson spent her life believing that “to be a Flower, is a profound Responsibility.” No wonder Virginia Woolf had her epiphany about what it means to be an artist in the garden.

Within the pages of “Leaning Toward Light,” readers are invited to witness the garden as more than just a physical space; it is a sanctuary of reverence and a crucible of responsibility. It is a place where creativity and spirituality intertwine, offering boundless rewards to those who engage with it. Through these carefully selected poems, readers can explore the rich tapestry of emotions and insights that arise from the act of gardening, a practice that mirrors the poetic process in its ability to inspire and soothe the soul.

Gardening, much like poetry, exudes a sense of grace and abundance, and both crafts, May Sarton, a poet and ardent gardener, once pondered, cannot be executed solely through sheer willpower.” These contemplative words of Sarton illuminate the enduring connection between the art of nurturing plants and the art of weaving words, a connection that has captivated the hearts and minds of countless writers throughout the ages. It is no surprise, then, that luminaries such as Emily Dickinson, who held the profound belief that embodying a flower was a weighty responsibility, and Virginia Woolf, who found enlightenment in her garden, have revered the garden as a source of inspiration and revelation.

One will encounter verses that evoke the same wonderment and contemplation found in a well-tended garden. These poems bloom with the essence of life itself, revealing the profound connections between humans and the natural world. Just as a garden cannot be reduced to mere plants and soil, poetry transcends words on a page, and “Leaning toward Light” invites readers to experience this timeless synergy between the written word and the garden’s splendor. In this gathering of flowers and verses, Tess Taylor reminds us of the enduring beauty and wisdom that can be found when we lean toward the light of nature and creativity.

TESS TAYLOR grew up in El Cerrito, California, and attended Berkeley High School and Amherst College. She holds graduate degrees in writing from New York University and Boston University. Her chapbook of poems, The Misremembered World, was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Boston Review, Harvard Review, Literary Imagination, The Times Literary Supplement, and The New Yorker. She was the 2010-2011 Amy Clampitt Fellow in Lenox, Massachusetts, and was recently the News Poet on All Things Considered. After 17 years away, she lives again in El Cerrito. Her book of poems, The Forage House, is published by Red Hen Press.