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poems by

Indigo Moor

Poetry book, 98 pages, cover price $15

ISBN: 978-1-59948-046-6

Release date: 2006

This manuscript was selected for publication after finishing as a finalist in the 2006 MSR Poetry Book Award.

Indigo Moor is a 2003 recipient of Cave Canem‘s Writing fellowship in poetry and Vice President of the Sacramento Poetry Center.. He is the winner of the 2005 Vesle Fenstermaker Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers. A 2005 T.S. Eliot prize finalist, Indigo has received scholarships to the Summer Literary Series in St. Petersburg Russia, the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Program, the Indiana University Writer’s Conference, and the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference. His work has appeared in the Xavier Review, LA Review, Mochila Review, Boston University’s The Comment, the Pushcart Prize nominated Out of the Blue Artists Unite, Poetry Now, The Ringing Ear, the NCPS 2006 Anthology, and Gathering Grounds. Indigo Moor is also a reviewer for Black Issues Book Review.

Sense-embedded, peeled to perceptive freshness, with a gift for the muscular and concentrating phrase, Indigo Moor’s first book engages not only family and personal history, but the broader culture’s as well. These are poems weighted with the real world, consequential, revelatory, and moving.

Jane Hirshfield

The vivid, dexterous work of Yusef Komunyakaa and Jean Toomer’s crisp, poignant Cane come to mind, but Indigo Moor is, finally, his own man. His intricate, breathtaking poetry is lushly musical and allusive, alive, inventive–a muscular jazz. In his impressive debut, Tap-Root, Indigo Moor is both dazzlingly cosmopolitan and down home in the same breath–simultaneously drenched in opera’s ornate cascades, the blues, and the blue jay’s song: a son of the South and a son of the universe!

Cyrus Cassells

The crucible of the past is relentless, Indigo Moor tells us in one poem, and in another, “The Better Truth,” that the mind stores that part of history that glimmers. Both are true in his debut collection, Tap-Root. These are poems that tremble and ache with urgency as Moor longs for, returns to, leaves behind, and elegizes his South–a landscape of hardship, beauty, work, and the sweet music forged out of survival.

Natasha Trethewey

Back Through the Storm Door

I left the South broken, a busted wing
and a crooked eye. Still, I wake mornings
with the taste of honeysuckle on my tongue.

The phone rings; voices weary with traveling;
wires weighed down with crows and thick heat.
The South, calling me to christen the born or bury
the dead- Lord, I’m still addicted to its touch:

He doesn’t have long. If you’re
going to come, it better be soon.

In bed hours later, my mind still
taloned to the phone’s bad news.

Weed, codeine, scotch. I’ve ingested enough
fog and brain-ash to black out the moon.
But the crucible of the past is relentless,
grinding behind eyelids. Memories spark
wild along the nerves’ telegraph. The lens
focuses backwards and the mind grays decades.

I dream my past a fragmented play, spliced
together with rawhide ties and silk thread.
It grows claws and jumps the stage: a beast
my hands don’t know how to tame.

There is no balm for the past’s dull ache.
When the blue jay rolls up his song,
the whole damn world spins down on me,
falling back through the door,
I’m broken again.


I worship these women of salt.
Backs curved, cloth-tied locks thick.
Hard beauty bent, jackknifing in fields
under a harvest moon fat-perigeed-
full crazy enough to kill them all.

Backs curved, cloth-tied locks thick
They speak harvest songs in tongues.
Stretch moan-hides across a drum voice
under a harvest moon fat-perigeed-
full crazy enough to kill them all.

Hard beauty bent, jackknifing in fields.
Scythe swing! Quails spring into trout-leaps.
Dark muscles swim through yellow waves
under a harvest moon fat-perigeed-
full crazy enough to kill them all.

Casting Aside Eden

Buried above my ancestors,
I kept their stories; they
dreamed my future,

necromanced life through
my veins, into my two hands,
cupped around a crescent of soil.

That was before I traded
the horizon for the perfect shingles
of this new neighborhood: carved
from the wild; a bird shape
pulled from a block of wood.

Corn and wheat were sown to concrete.
Plowshares stagnated to flowerbeds.
Horses sold to memory.

I set my family’s feet North.
Unhinged the moon, drug it
behind our caravan.

I hung it crooked in the sky
above my prefab roof, believing
I would hold its meaning as I
would all my ancestral stories.

Falling upon opiate grasses,
I was locust, sated- noticing
neither the moon nor my history
as they faded like the shrinking
calluses on my hands.

SKU: 978-1-59948-046-6 Category: Tag: