Small Congregations (The American Poetry)

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9780880013635: Small Congregations (The American Poetry)

Thylias Moss (b. 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American poet, writer, experimental filmmaker, sound artist and playwright, of African American, Indian, and European heritage, who has published a number of poetry collections, children's books, essays, and multimedia work she calls poam s, products of acts of making, related to her work in Limited Fork Theory. Among her awards are a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Artist's Fellowship from the Massachusetts Arts Council, an NEA grant, and the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize Witter Bynner award for poetry. This was her fifth book of poetry. Limited Fork Theory is the study of interacting systems. Each tine of a limited fork also functions as a root and/or a branch and may curve, circle, disappear for a while, temporarily connecting things, possibly even snagging something tasty, something possibly nourishing, something that can be ingested --maybe without harm(ing us), but what is ingested will change during this process, and we may change, so the temporary connections is also a means of exchange: we give something and we receive something; we may not realize immediately that we are different, but we are. Moss is a visionary storyteller, a political and religious poet. It's the world of 'marvelous thirsts' and 'glorious hungers', to use her words. She knows that language is both the individual and the community. She has a sense of history, the complexity and variety of Black experience in America. What drama, humor, imagination, intelligence, and range of subject matter these poems have. Thylias Moss is a major figure in contemporary American poetry. Thylias Moss names the black truths behind white lies. These poems are angry, defiant, yet informed with a sense of the sacred in their images, in their language, in their mimesis of transcendent ritual in everyday life. Here is a writer who speaks bitterness and makes her own music of it.

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About the Author:

Thylias Moss is a professor of English at the University of Michigan. The author of six volumes of poetry and two children's books, her work has also appeared in many journals and in four editions of Best American Poetry. She has won numerous honors, grants and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Washing Bread

In the river a woman washes
big white slices of bread
like shirts.

When she wrings them
milky water runs from wrists to elbows
and she remembers the loaf bloating
with starvation.

When she lays the bread on nearby rocks
she is a nurse swabbing fever.
It dries and gets dirty again.
Her children eat
pieces of their crosses.

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