Spiel Photo (c) 2008 P. Welch

a/k/a  the artist Tom Taylor

a/k/a  the artist Thoss W. Taylor

Exhibitions and Events

Dirty Sheets

28 stories of passion, pathos and payback

by The Poet Spiel.

Published by Rain Mountain Press, NYC

Book Info

Consider Your Confine

March 4 – April 8, 2015 Solo exhibition of the artist’s legendary Confine Show. 45th anniversary of its creation in Los Angeles. San Juan Gallery, Pueblo Community College, Pueblo CO 81004
Show Info

Visit “SaatchiArt” online to view the artist’s current portfolio of paintings and prints which are for sale

View Portfolio
Spiel writes with great range and passion. So much so that it is easy to hear and remember only his loudest shouts — those poems in which he pounds the door and cries out for the injustice, the inequality and sorrow of this life. But flip these poems over and find a poet equally equipped to write soft, spare, musical poems filled with sentiment and yearning.

Charles P. Ries

Excerpt from, "An Interview With The Poet Spiel

these are perilous times—

—when you don’t know
if you should teach
your little ones to sleep
standing up
with their backs to the wall
and their running shoes on

or if you should benevolently
slip into their bedrooms
and place a pillow
over their tiny faces
then press it downward
til the frantic kicking ceases

           The Poet Spiel

The Poet Spiel was born out west to decent white farmers the same year the U.S. entered WWII, a maverick child who made art which evolved as he matured intellectually through many lifestyle changes leading to considerable national exposure.

But in 1996, traumatic life/death illness abruptly halted his career; then, when his life was spared, he became reticent and for the first time ever, uncreative –until the spring of 1999– when he unearthed an urge to write. And this opened the pathway to become the Pushcart Prize contender, devoted author, known for often socially conscious, sometimes iconoclastic poetry, curiously human short stories, seductive spoken-word recordings and astute bits of visual art frequently published internationally in scores of independent press journals, both online and off.

“…(Spiel) challenges the current tendency of small press poets to do little else but reaffirm the pedestrian nature of life. Spiel refuses to produce small, tasty commodities that gloss, harmonize, and freeze frame. Rather than impose epiphany onto image, Spiel moves from image to social analysis. Therefore, ‘Spiel Speak’ is an audacious language of struggle, a language of talkback which invades, ignites, and possibly even transforms the reader.”

Don Winter

Excerpt from a review of Spiel's chapbook , "come here cowboy: poems of war"

“Tom Taylor is like a human prism. The facets of his art mark achievements many artists fear as well as envy.”

Jennifer Heath

Rocky Mountain News

“Taylor consistently confirms my idealistic belief that the creation of art should be — can be — an act of integrity.”

Nancy Clegg

Westword Magazine

“…with neither sentimentality nor cynicism, Taylor is proving himself a precocious master of perception for people as individuals. …because his seemingly effortless technique lets the viewer concentrate on the subject, unconcerned about how its striking air of truth was achieved.”

Barbara Haddad

The Denver Post

by the poet spiel, 2007
“the big quiet”  24″ x 48″  (c) 2007  by the poet spiel

making pictures without mouths

unloading griefs i did not know

in pictures without mouths

in pictures     rows of pictures

stacks and stacks of pictures

of the children

     without faces

     without mouths

     to speak

to tell of all their needs

to tell their stories

where they’d been

why they stood before the houses

     without doors

     without windows

stood before those houses

could not speak those children without mouths

in pictures that i made

unloading griefs

that at that time i could not know

and at that time i changed my name

to hide my blackened tongue

so blackened then

by griefs of secrets hidden there

behind my face

without a place to speak

and hushed by circumstance

beyond my naïve understanding

sullen and in grieving

making pictures

rows and stacks of pictures

without mouth

The Poet Spiel

This poem first appeared in Spiel’s chapbook, it breathes on it own,  published by Pudding House Publications and is performed by Spiel on his C.D., “breathing back words.


i wish you were a chair    there

a soft open chair

i wish you were hair    there

as bright as ripe wheat where

i wish you were air    there

at dawn its freshness of sky there

in my mirror there

me watching me there

              resting on you as chair

combing through you as hair

inhaling you as air

               i wish you were a chair

                         me reclined on you there

in my mirror where

i finger you as hair

oh i wish you were air here

               and i were a chair

Hear Spiel perform “chair” on his spoken word/music collaboration C.D. with composer Jack Moss, “breathing back words.”

The Poet Spiel


cast my ashes on

    agitated water

where my enemy

    cannot surround them

 where my best friend

    cannot long to wake them

Spiel wrote his classic “epitaph” ten years after a team of gastro-enterologists had (incorrectly) assured him his “time had come and (he) should get (his) affairs in order to prepare to die.”

The Poet Spiel


keep a hungry dog at your feet

to lap up the detritus

so no one will know

you crumble along the way

The Poet Spiel

the end

               i don’t think

          anyone cried

     on the first day


there was loud silence


the kitchen table

dad phoned

the wheat threshers

told them

there would not be

no filthy sweat work

one out-of-hell

sweep of hail

had wasted his readied crop

one day too soon

no one wanted to talk

so i hid my mouth upstairs

just played and played my harry belefonte

till it numbed me dead

when i came to

my dumbed diamond needle

was banging

deep grooves in my head

my folks were still

in the kitchen


at dark

the dogs were scratching o

ur screendoor

and i wasn’t sure if

the cows had been milked

                 my dad had to quit

            a lifetime


   to farming

and we had to move

where our only harvest

was just a dumb little patch

of green grass where i rooted

a pussy willow cutting

hoping it might grow fast

to hide

the naked bathroom window

of a little white house

crammed between


who did not drive trucks

who made their lights

push through

my bedroom walls

after bedtime

and me just listening

to the slick-black street

where a kid could not

kick dirt

From “once upon a farmboy,” a Spiel chapbook published by MadmanInk, 2008.

The Poet Spiel

The Poet Spiel identifies himself as having been a maverick from birth, brought into this world by common white folk on a small farm out west, the same year the U.S. entered the bleak years of WWII. In 1996, a major confrontation with what was promised to be his imminent death, changed the course of his life. He abruptly dropped a successful career as a visual artist and became withdrawn and reticent. For the first time ever, he became uncreative. Then in 1999, an urge to write arose within him. Since then, scores of independent press editors have published, in the hundreds, his often raw poems of conflict, his quirky, insightful short stories and his various and odd bits of art and photography. He is credited with the publication of more than one dozen chapbook and book collections of poetry and short stories. One of Spiel’s letterheads reads: “Without your ear, I have no voice.” Though he considers writing a deeply private process, he believes his work is not complete until it touches the thoughts of others–a holdover from the decades of his life as a nationally acclaimed visual artist, when, presenting himself under other personas and with various types of art, he was recognized with more than four dozen solo exhibitions, coast to coast, in galleries, museums and universities (see list below). His art has been published worldwide in a broad array of formats. Spiel is known for his work with socially conscious subjects and being unusually comfortable with taking us on journeys into the discomforts of deep secrets many may share but find too personal or too dark to reveal, such as the psychiatric disorders with which he has coped throughout his life, the injustice of government he observes daily, the nonsense of war, the perils of homosexuality, incest, the reality of suicide, the declining years and Alzheimers disease. He is masterful at risking an uncertain world where, harboring the visceral paranoia that accompanies surveillance at our every turn, we wish everything would turn out okay but we are too often disappointed to find that it does not.

Duck and Cover” (c) 1987 Tom Taylor

Spiel’s writing can be found in small and independent press publications in The U.S.A, Canada, Indonesia, Nepal, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Britain, both on and offline, such as: Abbey, Alpha Beat Press, art mag, Ascent Aspirations, Barbaric Yawp, Barking Dogs, Bathtub Gin, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Bogg, Buckle &, Broomweed Journal, Chiron Review, Cliff’s Soundings, Covert Poetics, Dana Literary Society, Dream Garden, Fight These Bastards, Gargoyle, Gloom Cupboard, Happy, Iconoclast, Impetus, Iodine, laurahird.com, League of Laboring Poets, Lilliput Review, Lost & Found, Lucid Moon, LuVER Radio, Lynx Eye, Mainstreet Rag, March Street Press, Marymark Press, Misfit Magazine, Muses Review, Neotrope, Nerve Cowboy, New Verse News, No Exit, Open Cut, Opium 2.0, Pass Port Journal, Parting Gifts, Pearl, Penhimalaya, Plain Jane, Poems-For-All, Poesy, Poetry Motel, Poets Against the War, Pudding House Publications, Pueblo Poetry Project, P.U.L.P., Quill & Parchment, Ragged Edge, Rain Mountain Press, Remark, Skidrow Penthouse, Slipstream, Small Press Review, Snapdragon, St Vitus Press, Sugar Mule, The MAG, Thunder Sandwich, TouchStone, Transcendent Visions, Unlikely Stories, Word Riot, Zafusy, Zen Baby, Zygote in My Coffee, ZYX

Solo Exhibitions as the visual artist Tom Taylor aka Thoss W. Taylor aka The Poet Spiel

(as Conceptual Artist, as Wildlife Artist, as Political and Statement Artist, as Alternative Space Artist Museum, University, Gallery, and Private Solo Exhibitions, 1964 to present, in alphabetic order

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen, CO,

(x2) Born Free Gallery, Evergreen, CO

Bradford Junior College, Bradford, MA

Brand Library Art Center, Glendale, CA

The Breckenridge Gallery, Breckenridge, CO

California Institute of the Arts, Burbank, CA

Center for Idea Art, Denver, CO

Charles Cowles, New York City, NY

Colorado State University, Pueblo, CO

The Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C.

CORE New Art Space, Denver Edge Gallery, Denver, CO,

(x2) The Eugenia Butler Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

First National Bank, Loveland, CO

The Flanders Show, Longmont, CO

Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD

Gallery East, Loveland, CO

The Gallery at Hudson’s Bay, Denver, CO,

(x2) The Gondolier, Boulder, CO 1964, #1 (first solo exhibit),

(x2) Harris Fireside Lounge, Longmont, CO

Hunter College, New York City, NY

Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles, CA

The Landmark Gallery, Longmont, CO  

The Loft, Pueblo, CO

The Longmont Museum, Longmont, CO (1989 retrospective)

The Moote Home Show, Ft. Collins, CO

Newport Harbor Art Museum, Balboa, CA

Nova Scotia College of Art, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Pioneer Museum, Longmont, CO

Pirate – A Contemporary Art Oasis, Denver, CO,

(x2) Prince Georges College, Washington, DC

Pueblo Community College, Pueblo, CO

Reese-Palley Gallery, San Francisco, CA

The Rex Evans Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Royce Galleries Ltd., Denver, CO,

(x2) Rubenstein-Serkez Gallery, Denver, CO

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

San Juan Gallery at PCC, Pueblo, CO

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Sotheby Park-Bernet/ Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX

Two Squares Gallery, Denver, CO

University of California, Davis, CA

University of Colorado Memorial Fine Arts Center, Boulder, CO

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO (1983 retrospective)

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia,

Africa Wildlife World Museum, Monument, CO

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Please note: permission to use Spiel/Taylor work in any form must first be obtained by specific request, per item, per usage.

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