Catherine Taylor is a writer and editor who works in a wide range of nonfiction forms–from documentary and literary journalism to lyric essays, hybrid-genre writing, critical theory, and poetics. She is the author of Apart, a hybrid-genre book of memoir and political history about South Africa (Ugly Duckling Presse) and of Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam) winner of the Lamaze International Birth Advocate Award. Her latest book, You, Me, and the Violence (Inanimate Subjects) will be published in Fall 2017.
Professor Taylor worked as a producer, writer, and researcher on a number of documentary film projects in New York City including The Exiles, which won an Emmy award for historical programming, and she was a Co-founder and Producer of The Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Taylor is also a Founding Editor of Essay Press, an independent press dedicated to publishing innovative essays in book form. She studied ancient Greek literature and history at Somerville College, Oxford; Classics and Literature at Cornell University; and American Literature, Critical Theory, and Emerging Media at Duke University.
Taylor's essays, poetry, reviews and video essays have appeared in many literary journals including Verse, Seneca Review, The Colorado Review, Jacket2, ActionYes, The Laurel Review, Xantippe, Postmodern Culture, Hotel Amerika, and Witness. Her work has been supported by fellowships and residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Millay Colony, and The Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She is currently Co-Director of the new Image Text Ithaca MFA, a graduate program that brings together writers and photographers.
- Nonfiction Writing
- The Essay
- Cultural Studies
- Documentary Poetics
- Ph.D. English, Duke University
- B.A. College Scholar in Literature and Classics, Cornell University
- Apart (Ugly Duckling Presse Dossier Series, 2012).
- Giving Birth: a Journey into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam, 2002).
Essays, Articles, etc.
- “Inanimate Subjects,” (a portfolio of new work excerpted from my forthcoming book) Verse. (Volume 33, Numbers
1-3). December 2016.
- "the atmosphere is a chaotic system" (video essay), Seneca Review. Spring 2014
- "Inanimate Subjects," Seneca Review. Fall 2013.
- "Take Your Time: The Ethics of the Event in Rachel Blau DuPlessis' 'Drafts'," Jacket2. Winter 2012.
- "Protest," "Arboretum," and "It Begins With a Glance," (Nominated for a Pushcart Prize), Hotel Amerika. 2010.
- “Duffer’s Drift,” Witness. Winter 2008.
- “Robben Island,” The Laurel Review. Fall 2008.
- “Bad Family,” ActionYes. Winter 2008.
Selected Presentations and Readings
- “Inanimate Subjects.” Reading. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) PS1. September 2016.
- “Image Text Ithaca” Event. International Center of Photography (ICP) Museum. New York NY. September 2016.
- “The Poetics of the Caption.” Cabinet Magazine launch of Wayne Koestenbaum’s book Notes on Glaze. The Whitney Museum of Art. New York NY. May 2016.
- The University of Toronto, Jackman Humanities Institute. Invited Workshop on “Teaching Creative Non-
Fiction to Academics. Participants admitted through a competitive application process. May 2016.
- The University of Georgia, Athens. March 2016.
- “Racial Politics and Hybrid Genres in James Baldwin and Claudia Rankine: from Epic to Lyric Essays,”
International James Baldwin Conference, American University of Paris, Forthcoming Spring 2016.
- “Teaching Nonfiction Research,” AWP, Los Angeles, Spring 2016.
- ACUD Kunsthaus, Berlin, Germany, December, 2014.
- University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom, November, 2014.
- “Distance Vision; Drone Warfare as Tourism,” International Association of Word Image Studies, Dundee,
Scotland, August 2014.
- "Research and Innovative Writing: A Conversation on History, Archives, and Documentary Aesthetics." The University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014.
- Temple University. Philadelphia PA, February, 2014.
- “War and the Weather,” Video Work and Introductory Comments. Conference on Ecopoetics, University of California, Berkeley, 2013.
- “Reveries of a Solitary Walker; The Poetics of Digression,” American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Toronto, 2013.
- "Between Art and Politics: Ficto-Criticism and Suspended Genres.” Columbia University, 2012.
- "Faculty Conversation: Innovative Writing and International Relations.” Vassar College, 2012.
- "The Drafts of Rachel Blau DuPlessis." ACLA, Vancouver, 2011.
- "The Pleasures of Research." NonfictionNow. The University of Iowa, 2010.
- “Mock Docs, Fakes, and Hoaxes.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), Denver, 2010.
- “Protest Memoirs.” AWP Conference, Chicago, 2009.
- "Independent Literary Presses.” Brown University. Providence RI, 2009
- “Women Essayists.” AWP Conference, New York, 2008.
- "Recitative and Reprise: Contemporary Returns to Reznikoff's Testimony." MLA, Chicago, 2007.
- “Beyond A Degraded Realism: Documentary Innovations.” MLA, Chicago, 2007.
- “Transgeneric Nonfiction and the Rhetoric of the Gap.” ACLA, Puebla, Mexico, 2007.
- “Mapping Creative Non-Fiction.” MLA, Philadelphia, 2006.
- “Fragments of the Truth: Rhetorics of Genocide.” MLA, Philadelphia, December, 2006.
- “Mixing Memoir and Political History: Identity, Race, and Nation,” Invited Lecture. All Africa House Lecture Series, The University of Cape Town, 2006.
- “Doing Documentary Work with Diverse Communities.” Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. Durham, NC 2005.