The daughter of deaf parents, Taavila presents poetic images that bring a natural focus to aspects of life, love, loss, family, death, and desire.
As a child of deaf adults (CODA), Pia Taavila first learned to communicate when her deaf father fingerspelled the names of toys in her crib and her mother showed her the signs for objects in picture books. From this primary visual orientation, in combination with her own innate sense of imagery, Taavila crafted the lush verse featured in Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems.
Taavila uses the graphic power of her poetry to evoke emotions about all aspects of existence — love, loss of love, family, death, and desire — feelings elicited through a lens attuned to the simple beauty of the natural. Most of the poems in Moon on the Meadow have been published at least once in established journals, testimony to the broad appeal of her passionate outlook on life. Yet, Taavila believes that her experiences as a CODA are essential to her ability to write at all. She never strays far from her home, her family, and the comforts they bring her through her art:
At a wedding, a flautist’s
languid notes lilt on the air.
My mother, who cannot hear,
leans forward, attentive
to the dip and sway of his body.
She signs to me:
It sounds like butterflies
Pia Taavila is Professor, Department of English at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.