The poet Eleanor Ross Taylor died on December 30 in Falls Church. The longtime Charlottesville resident had been married to the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Peter Taylor, but was a respected artist in her own right.
“The poet was known as a quiet, genteel and reclusive person,” writes The Daily Progress, “who often worked in her garden and yard, occasionally invited friends for tea and sent notes of encouragement to other writers and friends.”
“It’s hard for me to have a perspective on Mom, we had a great relationship,” said Ross Taylor, her son. He said a quote from Gustave Flaubert summed up her approach to writing.
“He said ‘be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.’ Mother wasn’t violent in her work but she was original and unflinching,” her son said.
The Poetry Foundation biography of Ross Taylor quotes our entry but goes one better and offers a number of her poems along with audio of her reading. Here she is reading “Where Somebody Died.”
The Charlotte Observer has a remembrance and the Greensboro News & Record an obituary.
IMAGE: Eleanor Ross Taylor (Taylor Family Collection / Poetry Foundation)