Tonight, I resume work on a manuscript that’s been troubling me for quite sometime… about a time in a life in 2014; and most of it was very good –I want a happy romance, certainly for myself, but most especially for my characters, and I’m still getting to know them, and once I do, I hope they’ll tell me just what to do… –no title yet –a bit of wish fulfillment!? –I don’t know for sure… But I have to write; all I’ve done really since I was seven years old…
I am not defeated! –I still stand tall! –I’m less than five feet tall, but I still stand tall. I am determined to finish this book! –I want it badly… So far, “Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress” has tried to tell my story in what many assume is a definitive manner, but it isn’t… Exists only as a lawsuit between my publisher and another publisher seeking to publish my work! –The new publisher Ecco Press, shortly after my winning the Dewar’s Performance Artist Award in Poetry, in New York, $10,000,00 –everyone there assumed that I would win; I didn’t share that confidence, but, of course, I wanted to win, and after I heard the competition , truth be told, I believed I would win, but looked so surprised when the envelope was read, like in the Oscars! And I did win! –cameras focused on me so I looked as surprised as I could, but I had already accepted the fact that I WOULD WIN! –show was filmed and broadcast on Bravo, when Bravo really was an arts & entertainment channel, not so corporate connected it is now; there were no commercials for one things; no Project Runway or Top Chef
Ecco Press decided they, editor with whom I worked was Daniel Halpern –he approached me about doing a New and Selected collection, and I was agreeable to this! Problem was that the primary publisher of y work, Persea Press, ever since I won the National Poetry Series open compassion and won! –leading to the publication of “Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky” , selected as a winner of the National Poetry Series Competition by Charles Simic, who wrote:
This is a book if astonishing originality and intensity. Moss is a visionary storyteller, a political and elegies poet. It’s the world of “marvelous thirsts” and “glorious hungers,” to use her words. I don’t know many poets who have better eyes and better ears. 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! This is her fourth book of poems and her best, Thylias Moss is already a major figure in contemporary American poetry,
–Thus began my partnership with Persea, a connection I maintain.
So, after the Dewar’s profiles performance artist competition, Ecco approached me about doing a book, a major collection… My second book, Pyramid of Bone, had been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award…My first book, Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman was a runner-up for the 1983 Best of the Great Lakes Prize (I completed my graduate studies in 1983, at the University of New Hampshire where I met Charles Simic, who never could pronounce my first name, so called me “T”
Ecco wanted to use representation of all my work, and this included ” –a book that Persea still waned to offer as a current book, so Persea and Ecco worked out a plan allowing a specified number of poems to be used; there’s a poem called “Congregations”… Once he contract between publishers was worked out, I worked on the manuscript with Ecco Press, and noted in the galleys, that there are three poems, really revision of poems in Rainbow Remnants, but so changed, only I new that they were revision, so I corrected the galleys indicating that they are indeed revisions, but I did not tell Persea, who sued Ecco for a violation of the contract… I was served a subpoena and ordered to bring all version of the disputed poems to court!
I was absolutely delighted! –I had never been to jail before, and I thought that this was my chance! –I had no interim versions, so I set out to make some! –I was imagining going to jail, and having to explain that I was locked up for revising poems! –and how ludicrous this lawsuit was, was picked up by the Wall Street Journal thylias_wall-street-journal who sent a
WALL STREET JOURNAL article, captured from the Harvard University library by a former student of mine, and a limited forker through and through: Laine Stranahan!
reporter to my house, realizing that more money was being spent by the publishers on the lawsuit than they aver could hope to make on poetry! –this story was so crazy, that I was bound for Oprah! –just think: It was going to be decided legally at what point a revision became a new poem! –just what poetry needed, such legal precedent! –I was heading for fame and Oprah because of POETRY! –POETRY! –I thought I would be financially set! –for life! –and I was quite the dynamic reader –of course, I perform poems more than merely “read” them, but that’s something else…
An example of Thylias Moss “reading” poetry: