April 4, 2011

Day 2, Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, April 1, Featured Poet: Larry Thomas

I had met Larry Thomas on Wednesday evening in the lobby of the motel. He was meeting up with Ken Hada & a cluster of other poets, heading out for drinks, so I tagged along. The others in the entourage were Alan Barecka, Jim Hunter & Steven Schroeder. Alan grew up north of Utica, NY & Steven was from Chicago & knows my “3 Guys” buddy Charlie Rossiter.  We're all connected.

Larry is a big, gregarious guy from West Texas who characterizes himself as a “Buffalo” & was the Poet Laureate of Texas in 2008. He loves words & writes his ass off. He reads in a rich, slow, West Texas drawl, savoring each syllable, with dramatic pauses & ends his poems with slow emphasis, clearly enjoying his reading. His poems are mostly short, grounded in his place, such as the requested “The Red Raging Waters” with its religious images, “Amazing Grace,” & “Out of the Blue” (a childhood memory of his mother). He read from his book The Skin of Light, portraits & descriptions. Because his poems are short he can read a lot of them. He ended with reading the last section of his book A Murder of Crows, 16 poems of blackness, death (& the mockery of death), & writing.

During the interesting questions & answers he described his hard work of writing, but said he does it because he loves the sheer joy of playing with words. That one can tell.

(Ken Hada & Larry Thomas with the "Scissortail plate" given to the Featured Poets.)

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