Saturday, March 16, 2013

poems by 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, Larry D. Thomas

Watch Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas read at FPL

Tide Pool Touch Tank
                  for Frank

The dank air
of the Maine State Aquarium
is pungent with brine
and the nostril-flaring
smell of fresh fish.
Little children huddle
around a tank
like primitives in a ritual.
Their heads swim
with flashbacks

of moonless, blue-black skies,
of luminous bodies
sparkling through the slats
of their cribs
beside the windows,

ever beyond the reach
of their fat, groping fingers. 
Wide-eyed, entranced
by the miracle beneath them,
they take deep breaths,

ease their hands into the black-
green holiness of seawater,
and, with the fingers of gods
trembling in the heavens,
stroke the spiny skin of stars.

(from The Lobsterman’s Dream currently in press at El Grito del Lobo Press, Fulton, MO; first published in The Texas Review)

Rattlesnake Roundup

At sunrise bands of gunless hunters
Stud the bleak, West Texas landscape,
Clutching forked sticks, wide-eyed at openings
Of cap rock dens, shoving vees

Behind the venom-bulged heads of vipers,
Bagging their catch in coarse tow sacks
For the trip to the town coliseum,
To pits teeming with fugues of fierce rattling

Where handlers press fangs against lips of jars,
Milking poison, and butchers section cuts
For deep fryers, cooking sweet, snow-white meat
For the leathery mouths of old townsfolk.

(from Amazing Grace, winner of the 2001 Texas Review Poetry Prize)

Fox Fire

After weeks of light rain
the floor of the woods
is sodden as a bog,

a patchwork of oxblood
and mustard tallow leaves
disintegrating from the thread-

like skeletons of their veins
in the black machinations
of rot, scat-scented,

shining with frog-slime, upthrust
by the shoots of mushrooms
muscling their way through the mire,

loosing old fox-stink
to slither through the mist
like warm steam.

(from The Woodlanders, Finalist, 2000 Pecan Grove Press National Chapbook Competition)

Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, has published nineteen collections of poetry.  His most recent book-length collections are The Skin of Light (Dalton Publishing 2010) and A Murder of Crows (Virtual Artists Collective 2011).  Among the numerous prizes and awards his poetry has received are two Texas Review Poetry Prizes (2001 and 2004), the 2004 Violet Crown Award (Writers’ League of Texas), the 2003 Western Heritage Award (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum), a Poets’ Prize nomination (West Chester University/Nicholas Roerich Museum), five Pushcart Prize nominations, a “Best of the Net” nomination, and six Spur Award Finalist citations (Western Writers of America).  His Larry D. Thomas: New and Selected Poems (TCU Press 2008) was long-listed for the National Book Award.

Larry D. Thomas has also been a featured poet at a previous FPL Poetry Series event and we hope to have him back to read later this year or during the first half of 2014.

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