A big thank you to writer and artist J.I. Kleinberg for writing a review of my book of poetry The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press 2018), in the most recent volume of Cirque Journal – Vol. 10. No. 1. You can check the complete review by going to the Cirque link above.

Reviews are scary things. Having your work judged by another takes a certain amount of armor. Putting yourself out there is a bit like being back in Junior High and wondering if you are going to be asked to sit at the “cool kids” table.

With that said, Judy was kind and gave me one of the biggest compliments I could have craved. As many of you know, who follow this blog, my last blog post was called Return Flight and I wrote about flying home to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Kleinberg says my poems are painterly and cinematic, that they are crafted with care and precision, all of which I appreciate. But what I especially appreciate is that she “got” my poems are rooted in most profoundly, place and anchored in the towns of Oregon and Washington.

I hope in some small way my writing can be a witness to how place has the ability to nurture and shape us. I am a fourth generation Oregonian. My family stories are rooted west of the Cascade Mountain Range in both these States and I believe like William Stegner that no place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends or monuments. And though not all the poems in this collection are about place, I appreciate that Kleinberg felt its presence important to note.

Here is a poem from this collection that began in a small fishing town on the Southern Oregon Coast and a picture of me about the time I was in fact hanging off these small town docks.

From: The Lure of Impermanence (Cirque Press 2018)/Available on Amazon

Yours in poetry,


Return Flight

Carey Taylor Photography

No matter the journey. No matter other roads taken. No matter you misplaced the map of your life behind a wheel of grief. No matter you took a multitude of detours.

Because as you look out the plane window, you understand the agency of this place. How it has been etched in your mind over decades of slow accrual through streams you have fished, forests you have hiked, mountains you have climbed, lakes you have swam in, oceans you have sailed.

And how like its great river that flows to the sea, it also flows through you, and you call it by name—home.

Yours in poetry,


The Poet and the Punk

Last Fall my son Sean Taylor, invited me to read poems between sets at one of his shows.  He played lovely background music to two of my poems and after that I dubbed us The Poet and the Punk.  I am still scheming a documentary about the two of us hitting the road in a Subaru station wagon, making music and poems as we sing or read for a place to stay or eat, but that is another story.

The Punk
The Punk

My son is a poet who put his words to music, a talent I envy and admire.  This Friday, May 1st, he will be an opening act at Dantes, in Portland, Oregon.  Check him out if you get a chance and here is a sampling of his wonderful talent.

I was running for my life
you were always saying run a little faster
I was playing Aces High
I didn’t know the rules
or the outcome I was after

I remember the scene
now the plot unfolds
I was looking for love
you were sniffing out blood
and a place to bury his bones

You were beautiful
like a harvest moon in a devils sky
fading in and out of focus
like disappearing ink
like dreams we had at nineteen
they were never meant to last
yeah you were kerosene
I’m just the fool that lit the match…

Yours in poetry,


The Gift of a Name

Today is my birthday.

I am mostly of French, Irish and Welsh descent.

Carey means “from the castle” in Welsh.
Carey means “of the dark ones” in Irish.
Shelton is derived from a place name meaning “Shelf-town”.

I was born in Coos County Oregon and brought home to live on a shelf of land at the Port Orford Coast Guard Station, in Curry county.   I spent my first 10 months in a small house in “Little America” near the station.


The hospital I was born in had maybe four rooms.  It was called Leep Memorial Hospital.    The doctor who delivered me was Dr. Lucas.

My birth certificate says my mother was seventeen and my father was twenty-two.  There was no weight or length recorded.

My father’s occupation was listed as “Boatswain 3”.  There was no occupation line for “Mother of the Child”.

I was born at 4:10 AM.  If I had been the first baby born in Coos County on January 1st, my parents would have won a washer and dryer and a small amount of cash.

The weather that month was typical-wet and gray.

My first breath was damp marine air.

Port Orford-Carey-Box

I have loved my name all my life.  It is a good name.  It is a name that fits.  It is a name I would choose again and  maybe a name that chose me.  It is a name that has given me direction.  It is a name that helps me understand my past.   Sixty years later, it is a gift for which I am still grateful.

Port Orford-Carey


In poetry,




First Poetry Memory

Around the age of four I vividly remember sitting next to my mother on our robin-egg-blue vinyl sectional couch.  At the time, we were living in Coast Guard housing in Charleston, Oregon,  in a house that today would be called a “dump”.  In the back of the house where the bedrooms were, it was damp and dark, with the outside walls just feet away from a small creek where open sewage flowed.  In the bedroom I shared with my brother, a thick musty smell seeped through the walls and floors like heavy fog, making it hard to breathe.

charleston house

The home I remember hearing my first poem.  Charleston, Oregon, USCG Station housing.  This picture was taken in the summer of 1958.  My mother is on the porch with my brother in the yard below her.

I recently learned the jewel colored couch my mother and I were sitting on had been purchased through a special arrangement with a local furniture store, one section at a time, as my father’s small income allowed.   In the darkness of those rooms, I imagine those blue gems of hope being delivered every few months, and with them, the dream of a better life.

It is in this setting that I remember being introduced to poetry.  As I look back on the lack of resources my parents had economically, socially and educationally, it is a wonder there were any books in the house, much less poetry.

I do not know if my parents had purchased the entire couch at the time of this story, or if other pieces were still to come, but I do know I  was plopped on an end piece, where a cigarette had already burnt a hole in the arm.   I remember the warmth of my mother pressed against my left side, and the cool of  blue vinyl on my right.  I can still feel the scratch of hard burnt plastic against my index finger as I fished the black rimmed hole for the soft batting below.  I can still see my legs dangling in mid-air as I rubbed my bare feet together to remove the sand from my toes and heels.


My mother and me, about the time she read me the first poem I remember.

I don’t recall my mother reading to me as a child, except on this one day, on that blue couch, although I am sure she must have. I do remember her voice was soft and tender as she read me a poem called  The Babes in the Wood.

It was a sad poem about children lost in a landscape that was as familiar to me as the one out the back door where I played.   I sat quietly and listened, then began to cry as the poem shifted from a story about lost children to a story about dead children.  Any hope of a happy ending was erased with five heart-rending words, they lay down and died.

Embarrassed at my sudden display of tears, (as if I had been caught doing something naughty), I quickly buried my face in my mother’s side, hoping I imagine, that by hiding I might lessen the emotion I was feeling. What I felt was overwhelming sadness, as I  imagined how lonely and frightened these children must have been.

Looking back as an adult, I know the feeling was about more than sadness.  It was about the power to empathize. I had just enough experience in my four years to understand what it was like to be a child, to play in the woods, and to have things never return. I had just enough experience to put myself in their shoes and imagine how they felt.

I wonder now if this was the first time my cloak of childhood innocence was pulled back and I saw the fragility of existence.

Theodore Roethke was quoted as saying,  Should we say the self, once perceived, becomes the soul?    Were those feelings, ignited by words, what transported me to a larger universal truth (we all die)?  Was this my first entry into my own soul?

As I matured into a girl, a teenager, a woman, poetry provided me words by which to explore the buried places within myself.  It eventually provided me a voice, and a place I could connect to the universal nature of all experience.  It both validated and expanded my own journey.  It provided a broader view outside the bubble of my own life.

Recently, my Aunt shared that her mother, my Grandma Lambert, had  read this poem to both her and my mother. It was the first time I had heard the origin of this poem in my family history. I now wonder where my grandmother first heard this poem, and while I may never know,  I am happy my aunt shared her memory of this poem with me.


My Aunt on the right and my mother on the left.  My mother was almost the same age in this picture as I was when she read me, The Babes in the Wood.


Grandma Lambert

I  can picture my mother and aunt sitting near my grandmother, much in the same way I sat near my mother.  The poem obviously left a lasting impression on both my aunt and mother, as they still remember the poem long after they were both young mothers, reading it aloud to their children.  I in turn read this poem to my children, not knowing at the time the generational journey it had travelled.

I don’t know if my children remember me reading this poem to them,  or whether it had an impact on them. I don’t know if they will share it with any future children.

What I do know is that three generations of women read the same words aloud to their children.

What I do know is poetry was a thread between generations, that helped me in some small way see what their voices never said.

What I do know, is not one of them, was afraid of its sad ending.


In Poetry,