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Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Known primarily as a poet, Thylias Moss has also written a memoir, Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress (1998), and a children’s picture book titled I Want to Be, published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 1993. Her Slave Moth is a novel written in verse.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Thylias Moss first won a poetry prize for “Coming of Age in Sandusky,” which she entered in the Cleveland Public Library Poetry Contest in 1978. In 1983, her poems were collected into Hosiery Seams on Bowlegged Women, a volume commissioned by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She received a fellowship from the Artists Foundation of Massachusetts in 1987 and won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts two years later. In 1989, Pyramid of Bone was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Moss’s “Interpretation of a Poem by Frost” appeared in The Pushcart Prize XIV: Best of the Small Presses, 1989-1990. In 1991, she won the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Dewar’s Profiles Performance Artist Award. Her Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky was selected for the National Poetry Series in 1990 and earned the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry in 1992. In 1995, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1998, Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler was named Best Book by the Village Voice and was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2006, she received the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Kitchen, Judith. “Poetry Reviews.” Georgia Review, Winter, 1998, 763-765. An extended review of Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler, this is an in-depth discussion of Moss’s technique.

Moss, Thylias. Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress. New York: Bard, 1998. This first prose work by the poet tells of how her idyllic childhood was shattered by brutality and how she overcame the darkness. A meditation on the nature of evil, this book is a detailed account of the poet’s early life.

Winston, Jay. “The Trickster Metaphysics of Thylias Moss.” In Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction, edited by Jeanne Campbell Reesman. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. This essay offers an analysis of Moss’s work within the context of trickster literature. The trickster figure originated in traditions of American Indian and African American literatures and is used also in Asian American and Latino writing.