Thylias Moss

Last updated

Thylias Moss (born February 27, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American poet, writer, experimental filmmaker, sound artist and playwright of African-American, Native American, and European heritage. Her poetry has been published in a number of collections and anthologies, and she has also published essays, children's books, and plays. She is the pioneer of Limited Fork Theory, a literary theory concerned with the limitations and capacity of human understanding of art.

Contents

Youth

Moss was born Thylias Rebecca Brasier, in a working-class family in Ohio. Her father chose the name Thylias because he decided she needed a name that had not existed before. [1] According to Moss, her first few years of life were happy, living with her family in the upstairs rooms of an older Jewish couple named Feldman (who Moss believes were Holocaust survivors). The Feldmans treated Moss like a grandchild.

When Moss was five, the Feldmans sold their house and moved away. Her parents continued to live in the house with the new homeowners and their 13-year-old daughter, Lytta, who began to baby-sit Moss after school. Moss experienced constant harassment from Lytta and several traumatic events before the age of nine. [1] She later said about her trauma: "I never said a word of this to anybody....I was there witnessing things that only happened when I left that house." [1]

At age nine her family relocated, causing her to be sent to school in a predominantly white district. After enduring bullying and racism from both her peers and teachers, she withdrew from social interaction at school and did not speak freely in classes until many years later in college. [1] It was during this time she gave more attention to writing poetry, an activity she had begun two years earlier. [1]

Adult years

Moss married at age 16 before attending Syracuse University from 1971 to 1973. [2] She eventually left university due to racial tensions and entered the workforce for several years. During this time she had two sons, Dennis and Ansted. [2] She enrolled in Oberlin College in 1979 and graduated with a BA in 1981. [3] She later received a Master of Arts in English, with an emphasis on writing, from the University of New Hampshire.

After finishing school, Moss taught English at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Since 1993, she has been a Professor of English and a Professor of Art and Design at the University of Michigan [4] in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Her early work is considered part of the legacy of the Black Arts Movement, taking influence from West African praise poetry and concerning themes of racial justice. [5] Throughout her career, her work has become more experimental, stretching the boundaries of genre and the definition of poetry. Her fixations still include justice, but she expanded into a fascination with text placement's effect on meaning. [6] These experiments with form culminated in her development of Limited Fork Theory and the invention of the POAM (product of act of making). Moss's POAMs are combinations of film and poetry, emphasizing how text placement and movement, among other sensory elements, can enhance the meaning of a poem. [6]

Limited Fork Theory

Moss contributed to experimental literary theory by introducing the metaphor of a fork to conceptualize how people internalize art and literature. [6] The fork as a metaphor for understanding represents bifurcation, and Moss argues that the branching out of the mind to understand art mimics the branching tines of a fork. She uses the word "limited" to express that, though an observer gains understanding of art through these bifurcated systems of comprehension, the same systems limit their understanding. Just as one can only eat that which adheres to the tines of a fork, one can only internalize the facets of a piece of art that adhere to these bifurcated tines of understanding.

The development of Moss's POAMs (products of acts of making) coincided with her theoretical development of Limited Fork. These multimedia pieces use as many sensory elements as possible, including movement, color, and sound. Moss has also expressed interest in incorporating olfactory elements in future projects. [7] These POAMS are usually displayed in galleries, but many can be found online in podcasts, journals, and on YouTube.

The complexities associated with the epistemological application of Limited Fork Theory caused Moss to adopt the persona of Forker Girl/Forker Gryle, pseudonyms under which she runs blogs and an Instagram account explaining details of both her life and her theory.

Work and Awards

Poetry

Prose

Awards

Related Research Articles

Laura Riding American writer

Laura Riding Jackson, best known as Laura Riding, was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer.

Victorine "Tory" Dent was an American poet, art critic, and commentator on the AIDS crisis.

Rita Dove American poet and author

Rita Frances Dove is an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She is the first African American to have been appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous "consultant in poetry" position (1937–86). Dove also received an appointment as "special consultant in poetry" for the Library of Congress's bicentennial year from 1999 to 2000. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Since 1989, she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she held the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English from 1993 to 2020; as of 2020 she holds the chair of Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.

Linda Gregerson American poet, teacher

Linda Gregerson is an American poet and member of faculty at the University of Michigan. In 2014, she was named as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Amy Clampitt was an American poet and author.

Marianne Boruch is an American poet whose published work also includes essays on poetry, sometimes in relation to other fields and a memoir about a hitchhiking trip taken in 1971.

Ruth Ellen Kocher American poet (born 1965)

Ruth Ellen Kocher is an American poet. She is the recipient of the PEN/Open Book Award, the Dorset Prize, the Green Rose Prize, and the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Cave Canem. She is Professor of English at the University of Colorado - Boulder where and serves as Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and Divisional Dean for Arts and Humanities.

Martha Collins (poet)

Martha Collins is a poet, translator, and editor. She has published ten books of poetry, including Night Unto Night ,Admit One: An American Scrapbook, Day Unto Day, White Papers, and Blue Front, as well as two chapbooks and four books of co-translations from the Vietnamese. She has also co-edited, with Kevin Prufer and Martin Rock, a volume of poems by Catherine Breese Davis, accompanied by essays and an interview about the poet’s life and work.

Carol Muske-Dukes is an American poet, novelist, essayist, critic, and professor, and the former poet laureate of California (2008–2011). Her most recent book of poetry, Sparrow, chronicling the love and loss of Muske-Dukes’ late husband, actor David Dukes, was a National Book Award finalist.

Sidney Wade is an American poet. She currently holds the position of Professor of creative writing at the University of Florida, where she has taught since 1993.

Annie Finch American poet (born 1956)

Annie Finch is an American poet, writer, editor, critic, translator, playwright, teacher, and performer. Her poetry is known for its often incantatory use of rhythm, meter, and poetic form and for its themes of witches and feminist spirituality. Her books include The Poetry Witch Little Book of Spells, Spells: New and Selected Poems, The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self, A Poet’s Craft, Calendars, and Among the Goddesses. Her edited anthologies include A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women, Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, and Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, the first major literary anthology about abortion.

Jeanne Larsen

Jeanne Larsen is a poet, novelist, translator, and essayist. Much of her work shows the growing influence of Buddhist perspectives on U.S. literature. This includes not only the poetry and creative nonfiction, but also the novels in her Avalokiteśvara trilogy: Silk Road, Bronze Mirror, and Manchu Palaces.

Anne Marie Macari is an American poet.

Amy Newman is translator, American poet, and professor. She is a Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University.

Noelle Kocot is an American poet. She is the author of nine full-length collections of poetry, including' "Ascent of the Mothers" ,'God's Green Earth, Phantom Pains of Madness, Soul in Space, The Bigger WorldSunny Wednesday, "Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems", The Raving Fortune and 4

Major Jackson is an American poet and professor at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of five collections of poetry: The Absurd Man, Roll Deep, Holding Company, Hoops, finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry, and Leaving Saturn, winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Award Circle. His edited volumes include: Best American Poetry 2019, Renga for Obama, and Library of America's Countee Cullen: Collected Poems.

Sarah Gambito American poet and professor

Sarah Gambito is an American poet and professor. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Loves You, Delivered, and Matadora. Her first collection, Matadora, was a New England/New York Award winner and won the 2005 Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry.

Shirley Kaufman Daleski was an American-Israeli poet and translator.

Camille Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is an American poet and professor.

Sandra Beasley American poet and non-fiction writer

Sandra Beasley is an American poet and non-fiction writer.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Silberman, Eve, "Thylias Moss: A Poet of Many Voices and A Spellbinding Delivery", Michigan Today, October 1995, via Modern American Poetry.
  2. 1 2 Pereira, Malin (2010). Into a Light Both Brilliant and Unseen: Conversations With Contemporary Poets. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. p. 122. ISBN   9780820331072.
  3. "Thylias Moss", Academy of American Poets, poets.org.
  4. "Thylias Moss", Poetry Foundation.
  5. Cull, Ryan (2016). "Inexhaustible Splendor: Thylias Moss, Praise Poetry, and Racial Politics". MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. 41: 125–417 via JSTOR.
  6. 1 2 3 "Thylias Moss". University of Michigan STAMPS School of Art & Design. 2020.
  7. Foundation, Poetry (March 10, 2020). "Shadows, Boxes, Forks, and "POAMs" by Richard Siken". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  8. Clark, Mavis. "Two Oberlin Alums Tapped as MacArthur Fellows". Oberlin College. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  9. 1 2 3 Brasier, Rebecca (2008). "Thylias Moss (1954-)". Opus 40. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011.