Angel Trades a Shotgun for a Shovel: An Interview with Terry Scott Taylor, Part 2

IMG_3926-BW-flareGuest Post by Chad Thomas Johnston

Photo taken by Phillip G Brown Fine Art Photography

Continued from yesterday.

Chad Thomas Johnston: Can you talk about the circumstances under which you wrote the new Daniel Amos album, Dig Here Said the Angel? What factors influenced its creation?

Terry Scott Taylor: I suppose the simplest answer to your question is that life itself is the circumstance that most influenced the record. I’m in my sixties now, and when I first sat down to write the tunes for Dig Here it occurred to me that, in a genre like rock ’n’ roll, you’re not going to find a lot of songs that honestly explore the inner life of those of us who have fewer days ahead of us than behind us. That being the case, I decided to write as honestly from my perspective as I could.

In writing about issues such as aging and lost youth, life’s disappointments and regrets, and even death itself, the challenge was to avoid morbidity, which I think we did quite successfully. Many fans and critics seem to agree that Dig Here is addictive, enjoyable, and anything but dark and depressing, which I think it easily could have been.

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Angel Trades a Shotgun for a Shovel: An Interview with Terry Scott Taylor, Part 1

cac478d3771789c8a2d5556cc3720aecGuest Post by Chad Thomas Johnston

Most bands with lifespans of forty years or more have—at some point, and with a certain sort of gracelessness—rolled downhill from the summits of their celebrated careers like stones in search of more peaceful musical pastures where they can gather moss. Not so with Daniel Amos.

In 2013, thirty-nine years after forming, the band also known as D. A. released an album as good as—maybe even better than—anything it had ever unleashed upon the world before. With frontman Terry Scott Taylor baring his soul and sometimes his teeth, and wisecracks and wisdom never far from one another, the record found Daniel Amos at the peak of its powers once again.

The title? Dig Here Said the Angel. The second album in the band’s catalog to reference a celestial being after 1977’s seminal Shotgun Angel. Sometime after reviewing the album for “Good Letters” last November, I resolved to interview Taylor in 2014 in hopes of understanding more of the Daniel Amos story. Here is the result of that opportunity.

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Epic Tales: an Interview with Amit Majmudar, part 2

Claude_Lorrain_024Guest post by Sarah Arthur

Continued from yesterday. 

SA:  In your essay “Me and the Monotheists,” you say that even though you are a Hindu, many Christians seem to warmly welcome your poetry (e.g., I’ve included your poem “Incarnation” in the anthology Light Upon Light). You say this is primarily about “aesthetic resonance”—particularly with imagery—but you also point to the English language itself as being encoded with biblical influence.

And yet not every contemporary English-speaking poet writes this way. Can you elaborate?

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Epic Tales: an Interview with Amit Majmudar, part 1

Guest post by Sarah Arthur

To call Amit Majmudar a poet doesn’t express the range of interests that characterize this brilliant, generous, inexhaustibly inquisitive young writer: Notable novelist, literary essayist, diagnostic nuclear radiologist, husband, parent of young children, expert in comparative religion.

His works have appeared in Image, The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Smithsonian, The Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Divinity Review, and First Things. His poetry has been widely anthologized, including the poem “Incarnation” from his collection Heaven and Earth, which appears in the newly released Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany from Paraclette Press.

Curious about his clear-eyed perspective on Western faith and literature, I interviewed Amit for Good Letters.

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Scott Cairns and his Idiot Psalms

Guest Post

By Angela Doll Carlson

W.H. Auden has said, “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the work of Scott Cairns. Whether they are the words from his poem, “Loves”:

I have kissed
his feet. I have looked long
into the trouble of his face

Or those he’s translated and adapted from the writings of the early saints in Endless Life:

The soul that looks
finally to God, conceives
a new mouth-watering
desire for His eternal beauty

Cairns’s work is at once embodied and ethereal, finding its roots in the ancient soil of rich language and reaching its branches into the lives of the common man. His poems greet the reader with a familiarity that allows the poet to draw us ever nearer so that at any moment he might whisper one great truth into the ear.

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