New poetry collection from Larry Thacker

Published 11:33 am Friday, December 13, 2019

FutureCycle Press has published Johnson City resident Larry D. Thacker’s Feasts of Evasion. Already the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, the two poetry chapbooks Voice Hunting and Memory Train and the two full collections Drifting in Awe (2017) and Grave Robber Confessional (2019), this is Thacker’s sixth book.

The Feasts of Evasion collection “walks hand-in-hand with us into the daily lands of both the mundane and the mind-blowing details of living,” Thacker says. “Poetry exists everywhere, in the make-up of everything, within everyone” Thacker would have us remember, “and how we find it is as varied as finding stillness in the train horn, the kudzu vine, the lonely hospital prayer book, or a few seconds at a fume-ridden intersection during holiday travel.”

Well-known writers from the region have offered some thoughts on the collection.

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Larry Thacker, in this collection, makes sacred the minutiae. From that shared cup of coffee, the crumble of brush underfoot, to the dented toaster, or the nightly lament of the train horn keeping the time of our lives, he challenges us to see, be, in those minute to minute sacred spaces: “Listen, and go./Without hurry./Without wanting./There is sun still to use.”

With precise and deliciously visceral language, he leads us, with each poem, to what he reveals here on every page: the “unexpected light.” Whether in the murmur of conversation on a porch or in the tests and mysteries of seeking God, Thacker, in these fierce and fearless poems, ultimately sanctifies everything, including us.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, author of Death for Beginners, A Little Blood, A Little Rain, and The Night I Heard Everything

“Feasts of Evasion, Larry Thacker’s strong new collection of poems, performs a search and recovery mission with the tools a poet has at hand: fleeting images, memories of the dead, specific locations intimately observed, and electric language. Thacker writes with formal ambition, employing prose poems and intricate drop-step line spacing with equal craftwork, sometimes taking master-poets like W.S. Merwin or Ron Houchin as trail-guides for finding his own modes and measures. This is a book equally attuned to the minutiae of nature in which each leaf “deserves a little inspection of its own,” and the vast boggle of internet conflicts that exist in “The tiniest of sparks. No one remains interested. Not even the creator.” These poems don’t glide over surfaces; they stop and take hard looks at what they find. Feasts of Evasion is a learned book, its lessons shared between science and folklore, steeped always in the search for the best life one can live in the world as we encounter it.”

Jesse Graves, author of Basin Ghosts and Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine

“In a broken world full of doubt, sniper’s bullets and our too-often emptied spirits, Larry Thacker’s Feasts of Evasion is a necessary book. Its poems are made of the most ordinary beauty – shadows, breath, an invisible spider’s web. We leave these pages certain that what has been cast off has been rediscovered via the renewed certainty of hope.”

Karen Salyer McElmurray, author of the novel The Motel of the Stars and memoir Surrendered Child

“Thacker is a Kentuckian writer, artist, and educator from Middlesboro, Kentucky, now hailing from Johnson City, Tennessee. He lives with his wife, Karin, and their cat, Abraham Lincoln. His writing can be found in over 150 publications. His poetry and fiction MFA is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College.”

Thacker will be reading from his work at events throughout the Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia region in the new year. Copies are available from Futurecycle Press, Amazon and the author. Keep up with the author at and on Instagram at: thackalachia.