March 8th, 2017: Melisa (Misha) Cahnmann-Taylor

Misha!Join us for a reading by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, author of Imperfect Tense (poems). Imperfect Tense is is a meditation on language. The first section delves into Americans’ pursuit of Spanish as a second language. Her poems take the literal grammar of the “imperfect” as a metaphor for language acquisition and life. The second section revolves around experiences as an English language and poetry teacher working with immigrant communities. The final section focuses on the languages of family, Jewish identity, and assimilation.

Read an excerpt here.

Watch Misha reading “Mother Less, Mother More” from Imperfect Tense here.

“Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor’s Imperfect Tense asks questions of language in the way a philosopher must ask questions of morality.  Cahnmann-Taylor is a poet of ethics, using her powers to explore the meanings of all things we take for granted.  The formal poems in this collection stress the duty of the poet to subvert and to perfect the subversion.”

—Jericho Brown, author of Please and The New Testament


“Gender made it worse, “ writes Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, referring not only to sexual nature but, more implicitly, to the grammar that attempts to inscribe it. Her poems underscore political, linguistic and romantic turbulence with wisdom, humor, and yes, craft. Imperfect Tense suspends us in multiple layers of meaning and introduces us to a poet—“what a broken world I am” —of moral depth and consequence.”
—Michael Waters, author of Gospel Night and Darling Vulgarity


 “Learning a second language anchors this collection and serves as a metaphor for living in community with others. ‘Survival’s a trade’ one speaker declares, three words that yoke the ‘Southern transplant’ to international students, refugees and undocumented youth. The language of family life—‘The rabbi says we never own our sons./ On loan these boys like never-ending books’ —reveals the poet’s fine ear and compassion for our ‘imperfect’ world.”

—Robin Becker, author of Tiger Heron

For more book buzz click here.

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor is author of the just-released book of poems, Imperfect Tense.   Her imperfections date well before she got her first job as a bilingual teacher in South Central, Los Angeles in 1992.  Winner of Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes and a Leeway Poetry Grant, a Fulbright award, Cahnmann-Taylor has  co-authored two education books, Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre and Arts-Based Research in Education. Professor of TESOL & World Language Education at UGA, she has published numerous articles and poetry about language learning, sustainable or fragile states of bilingualism, and teacher education. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Women’s Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, Mom Egg, and many other literary homes. She judges the annual Anthropology & Humanism poetry contest and is the editor of the ethnographic poetry section. In October 2015 she won the Beckman Award given to Professors Who Inspire. Her website is


Whitepoint Press is offering a special discount for her book.  Go to:

Click on IMPERFECT TENSE, click to buy from Whitepoint Press, add to cart and then enter the discount code U2MEX5C4

Cost is $10 plus shipping and applicable tax. Offer expires April 8, 2017