Thorpe Moeckel lands tenure

on July 1 | in In the Loop | by

Recent recipient of NEA fellowship

Thorpe MoeckelThorpe Moeckel, a teacher at Hollins since 2005, received tenure this spring. The much-published poet and essayist received a poetry fellowship last December from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was among forty-two poets (from a pool of 1,000 applicants) chosen to receive the $25,000 award. Moeckel’s most recent book is Venison: a poem. Other collections include Odd Botany, winner of the 2000 Gerald Cable Award, and Making a Map of the River. Chapbooks include Meltlines and The Guessing Land. He was a Jacob K. Javits and Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where he received an M.F.A. in creative writing. The following poem first appeared in The Carolina Quarterly. Moeckel and his wife and daughter run a small farm outside of Buchanan, Virginia.

Terra Sutra

Goat crap, sheep dung, chicken poop,
shards of limestone, creek rock,
board scrap, bark peel – watch your step;
here leaf and wood chip, grass clip,

cat fur, fish scale, bone splinter, guts
of carcass and stove; I mean ash, mean
good grub, lots of tasks; rust, shingle grit,
urine and tears, whisper, laughter, chat –

all the traffic: dog puke, cockcrow, bleat
and whinny, spilled oats, other grains,
seeds, shoots, dust and mud, grease, blood,
slow rolls of the near and distant ridges,

the there and the here in there, spells
and meanderings, losses, gains, shavings
from planer, chisel, file; bluebird feather,
hawk scream, bug, grub, sinew, cured ham

drip, dunnage of countless bales: how
trust a life less messy, less loved by spill,
all the varieties of sun, shade, rain – for
from such ground now comes good hay.

—Thorpe Moeckel

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