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About this poet

Thylias Moss was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 27, 1954. She received a BA from Oberlin College in 1981 and an MA from the University of New Hampshire in 1983.

She is the author of several poetry collections, including Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code: New & Selected Poems (Persea Books, 2016), Tokyo Butter: A Search for Forms of Deidre (Persea Books, 2006), Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler (Persea Books, 1998), and Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1983).

The poet Linda Gregerson writes, “Thylias Moss has never been a poet of easy comforts…. With fury and exhilarating velocity, she heads straight into the maelstrom. She excoriates; she sings.”

Moss has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Whiting Foundation, among others. She has previously taught at Phillips Andover Academy, the University of New Hampshire, and Brandeis University. She currently serves as a professor emerita at the University of Michigan, and she lives in Michigan.


Bibliography

Poetry
Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code: New & Selected Poems (Persea Books, 2016)
Tokyo Butter: A Search for Forms of Deidre (Persea Books, 2006)
Slave Moth: A Narrative in Verse (Persea Books, 2004)
Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler (Persea Books, 1998)
Small Congregations: New and Selected Poems (Ecco Press, 1993)
Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky (Persea Books, 1991)
At Redbones (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1990)
Pyramid of Bone (University Press of Virginia, 1989)
Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1983)

Prose
Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress (Bard, 1998)

Spilled Sugar

I cannot forget the sugar on the table.
The hand that spilled it was not that of
my usual father, three layers of clothes
for a wind he felt from hallway to kitchen,
the brightest room though the lightbulbs
were greasy.

The sugar like bleached anthills of ground teeth.
It seemed to issue from open wounds in his palms.
Each day, more of Father granulated, the injury spread
like dye through cotton, staining all the wash,
condemning the house.

The gas jets on the stove shoot a blue spear
that passes my cheek like air. I stir
and the sugar dissolves, the coffee giving no evidence
that it has been sweetened and I will not taste it
to find out, my father raised to my lips, the toast burnt,
the breakfast ruined.

Neither he nor I will move from the shrine
of Mother’s photo. We begin to understand
the limits of love’s power. And as we do,
we have to redefine God; he is not love at all.
He is longing.

He is what he became those three days
that one third of himself was dead.

Thylias Moss, "Spilled Sugar" from At Redbones. Copyright © 1990 by Thylias Moss. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, www.csupoetrycenter.com.

Thylias Moss, "Spilled Sugar" from At Redbones. Copyright © 1990 by Thylias Moss. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, www.csupoetrycenter.com.

Thylias Moss

Thylias Moss was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code: New & Selected Poems (Persea Books, 2016).

by this poet

poem

         Thanksgiving 2004: I’m thankful for

Columbo’s eye, Peter Falk’s indivisible
from the other’s vitreous dupe that he can pocket,
rub into, off of, and shine the crystal eyeball after
it subs in a game of table pool. Oh yeah!

The future of fortunes is manufactured

poem
This did not happen



although I have memories of it:
a doctor unwrapping a tutu 
so I knew I was in a hospital
but one unlike any other
practicing strange medicine 
but this strangeness has been effective


A hospital for dancers?




I was in pink,
sequined

I had been in a street,
an alley and

I was left
poem
Snow White was nude at her wedding, she's so white
the gown seemed to disappear when she put it on.

Put me beside her and the proximity is good
for a study of chiaroscuro, not much else.

Her name aggravates me most, as if I need to be told
what's white and what isn't.

Judging strictly by appearance there's a