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9781888160222, 92p

Writing about place, energy, and politics

The Midwest Oil Fields are full of stories. Crude is a manifesto for people battling issues of environmental devastation, Taylor Brorby’s Crude explores what it means to be from and of a place. Through natural history, personal experience, and a sense of awe, these poems explore the northern Great Plains—its troubled history, extractive economies, and what roots us to the places we call home. In this determined collection, these poems examine everything from the pallid sturgeon and General Custer, to prostitutes and wildcatters. Through his love of the land, Brorby unearths and wrestles with the complicated place that he calls home.

“In Crude, a stunning poetic debut, Taylor Brorby fights for the environmental landscape of his home in the North Dakota Bakken fields ‘like a pike with a hook in its mouth.’ With a passionate voice, profound courage, and deft imagistic skills, he brings an ‘unrelenting and fierce’ energy to the page in hopes of protecting for all of us a ‘world filled with the necessity of beauty.’”Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa, author of The Girls on the Roof

“Taylor Brorby says of his beloved North Dakota home, ‘I suppose the world finds the prairie drab.’ But if so much of America overlooks the blue grama grasses, the cottonwoods, the song of the meadowlark and the prairie dogs bark, Brorby’s poems demand our attention. His love for the land that delivers him into ‘the business of the bees and worms and grain’ is profound and hard-earned, as is his desire to save that land from our most destructive ways—fracking for natural gas, gashing the crust of the earth for coal. Crude is refreshing in its directness, in its refusal to accept things as they are, envisioning a better way to live in concert with the earth that sustains us.—Todd Davis, author of Winterkill and In the Kingdom of the Ditch

“Taylor Brorby’s Crude is anything but. Herein you’ll find finely wrought manifestos and odes celebrating grass, wind, and river bottoms. You’ll also find more than a few laments, as the pumpjacks and flares that dot the prairies of North Dakota don’t escape Brorby’s keen eye. Yet in the end all of this pales next to the grandeur of ‘the open places where ancient seabeds run through switchgrass.’”—Joe Wilkins, author of When We Were Birds and The Mountain and the Fathers


Taylor Brorby is an award-winning essayist, and a poet. A fellow at the Black Earth Institute, Taylor’s work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Orion, High Country News, The Huffington Post, and Hawk & Handsaw. He has received numerous recognition through grants and artist residencies. Taylor travels around the country regularly to speak about hydraulic fracking, is a co-editor of the country’s first anthology of creative writing about fracking, Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America, the author of Coming Alive: Action & Civil Disobedience and is Reviews Editor at Orion Magazine.