Pub date: February 18, 2011
Song of the Taxidermist explores our simultaneous fascination and unease with the body’s independence, its resistance to the self’s colonizing imperative. The poem, “The Swimmers” for example, was inspired by Betty Goodwin’s quality of intentional ambiguity, wherein the viewer cannot be certain whether her subjects are swimming, or whether they are in fact drowning, and whether choice is exercised in either event. The physicality of Goodwin’s work, its incessant focus on the body both as receptacle and representation served as inspiration and structure for the poem.
“Song of the Taxidermist” I and II were based on archival research and personal interviews. In this suite of poems, Haller draws on the stories of famous taxidermied specimens such as the celebrated French giraffe, Zarafe, and the Alaskan sled dog, Togo.
"Haller's poetry resonates with beauty's subjectivity, the ephemeral lean of a basement plant toward the light, the ur-dream the artist struggles to disassemble. From Rauschenberg's goat to taxidermists' philosophy, these poems roam through our collective desire to tilt the world into something that shines, something that burnishes the lawn with dewy hoof prints and over-exposures." — Tammy Armstrong, author of The Scare in the Crow
"What are poems if not houses? Aurian Haller ponders in Song of the Taxidermist. Certainly his are spaces to dwell in, but further, they ‘house' evocative installations of found objects chosen to find or re-arrange us. In this living museum, Haller exhibits poems of such inviting mystery, I know I'll visit often." — John Barton, author of Hymn
"Reading the title sequence when it first appeared three years ago triggered waves of admiration that still resonate, and this collection renews their intensity. The poems wow with their flawless skins, masterfully assembled skeletons, and intelligent conception and curation, then unsettle as Haller's probings transform the seen and the studied into the unexpected." — Stephanie Bolster, author of Pavilion