An Afternoon of Poetry with Thomas Alan Holmes and Mac Gay
We are excited to bring you another afternoon of poetry with Iris Press authors Thomas Alan Holmes and Mac Gay. This event will take place in our store on September 11 at 2 pm.
Please RSVP to receive your *free* ticket at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/.../an-afternoon-of-poetry...
A native Alabamian, Thomas Alan Holmes spent many years on the staff and masthead of The Black Warrior Review while completing his graduate degrees at the University of Alabama. He is co-editor of Walking the Line: Country Music Lyricists and American Culture (with Roxanne Harde, Lexington Books, 2013), Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston (with Jesse Graves and Ernest Lee, University of Tennessee Press, 2015), and The Fire That Breaks: Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Poetic Legacies (with Daniel Westover, Clemson University Press, 2020). His research and creative work have appeared in such journals as Louisiana Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Connecticut Review, Appalachian Heritage, Blue Mesa Review, Still: The Journal, and Appalachian Journal. He specializes in Appalachian and African American literature as a professor of English at East Tennessee State University. His author photo is by Michelle Joy Handler and is used with permission from her family.
In the backhoe’s shadow, one takes a brief rest in the midst of responsibilities and needs, considering what comes next. In his debut poetry collection, In the Backhoe’s Shadow, Thomas Alan Holmes offers a measured evaluation of a lost past, balancing the consequences of generational shift with expanded understanding of family, love, and place. At turns pastoral, lyrical, contemplative, descriptive, and, sometimes, playful, the collection explores how to sustain after years of separation the virtues of the stream, the pasture, and the hive.
Mac Gay was born and raised on a 280 acre farm near Newborn, Georgia. He stumbled across contemporary poetry in his mid-twenties and was immediately hooked. Before the discovery occurred, he had already earned two degrees in the sciences at the University of Georgia. Later he obtained another degree in creative writing from Georgia State University. He is the author of 2 other full-length poetry collections: Ghost Hunt, runner-up for Eyewear Publishing’s 2017 Beverly Prize and Our Fatherlessness (The Orchard Street Press, 2021) as well as 4 chapbooks. His chapbook Farm Alarm was runner-up for Texas Review Press’s 2018 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize and Physical Science won Poems & Plays’ 2003 Tennessee Poetry Chapbook Prize. His work has been anthologized in The Southern Poetry Anthology: Georgia from Texas Review Press and his poems have appeared in numerous magazines including Atlanta Review, Crosswinds, Cutbank, and The American Journal of Poetry. A longtime runner, biker, and hiker, he lives with his wife Jana, their 2 dogs and 4 cats in Covington, Georgia and teaches English at Perimeter College of Georgia State University.
Ultimately, we all end up losers, at least to the atheist or agnostic, but The Least by Mac Gay documents a sample of the myriad that get a head start, whether as the unfortunate, the infamous, or the exhausted, for as Victor Hugo mentions concerning his voluminous tome Les Miserables, “there is a point… at which the unfortunate and the infamous are associated into a single word.” And that word, his book’s title, translates for this book’s purposes into The Least. Gay’s narratives and dramatic monologues describe individually and in detail the misfits and the misbegotten, the tired, the unlucky, and the antiheroic, in all their pain, misery, and frustration. Perhaps we are all frail, comic facsimiles of Jesus, stumbling along in the dark, falling into our various foibles, pitfalls, and vices, longing for redemption. Whether readers can find themselves here or not is for them to discover, but the author in some strange way finds himself on nearly every page. Let the believers be reminded of Jesus’s declaration from the book of Mark: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.”
We hope to see you there!