Larry D. Thomas

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Larry D. Thomas, 2006

Larry D. Thomas (born 1947) is an American poet. He was the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate,[1] and in 2009 was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas was born in 1947 in the small west Texas town of Haskell. When he was three years old, the family moved to Midland, Texas, where he attended public schools through the eighth grade. In 1961 the family moved to Brownwood, Texas, where he attended Brownwood High School, graduating in 1965 as a member of the National Honor Society.

After graduation from high school, he attended Howard Payne University in Brownwood for two years, supporting himself by working afternoons, evenings and weekends as a district circulation manager for the Brownwood Bulletin newspaper. He transferred to the University of Houston in 1967, attending night classes on a full-time basis until he graduated in 1970 with a B. A. degree in English literature. While attending the University of Houston, he supported himself through his full-time employment as a district caseworker for the Harris County Social Services Department.

Naval service and early works[edit]

Thomas completed a four-year tour of duty in the U. S. Navy immediately after receiving his bachelor's degree, serving as a correctional counselor in the Navy Correctional Center, Norfolk, Virginia. During his naval service, he started writing poetry consistently on weekends, a disciplined practice he would maintain throughout his 23-year, post-naval career in the adult probation field. By the time he retired as a branch director of the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (in Houston) in 1998, he had published a large number of poems in numerous national literary journals, including the Southwest Review, Poet Lore, The Small Pond Magazine of Literature, The Texas Review, Puerto del Sol, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cape Rock, and Writers' Forum.

Subsequent works[edit]

In January 2001, Thomas published his first collection of poetry, The Lighthouse Keeper, with Timberline Press (Fulton, MO), a handset letterpress edition illustrated with original linocuts and a serigraph. He was awarded the 2001 Texas Review Poetry Prize for Amazing Grace.[2] The volume also won the 2003 Western Heritage Wrangler Award,[3] a national award for a book of poems celebrating the historical or contemporary American West, and was a Spur Award finalist. His subsequent volumes of verse or individual poems received several significant prizes and awards, including the 2004 Texas Review Poetry Prize[4] and 2004 Violet Crown Award[5] (both won by Where Skulls Speak Wind, Texas Review Press 2004); eight Pushcart Prize nominations; six additional Spur Award finalist citations; and a Poets' Prize nomination (Nicholas Roerich Museum). In April 2007, he was appointed by the Texas Legislature as the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate.[1] He was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in April 2009. His poetry collection, The Goatherd, received the 2015 Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.



  • 2001: The Lighthouse Keeper (poetry chapbook), Timberline Press
  • 2001: Amazing Grace (poems), Texas Review Press
  • 2002: The Woodlanders (poetry chapbook), Pecan Grove Press
  • 2004: Where Skulls Speak Wind (poems), Texas Review Press
  • 2005: Stark Beauty (poems), Timberline Press
  • 2007: With the Light of Apricots (poetry chapbook), Lily Press
  • 2007: Eros (poetry chapbook), Slow Trains Literary Journal
  • 2008: The Fraternity of Oblivion (poems), Timberline Press
  • 2008: Larry D. Thomas: TCU Texas Poet Laureate Series (poems), TCU Press
  • 2008: The Circus (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2009: Plain Pine (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2010: The Skin of Light (poems), Dalton Publishing
  • 2010: Dark Pearls (poetry chapbook), LaNana Creek Press (Stephen F. Austin State University)
  • 2010: Wolves (poetry chapbook), El Grito del Lobo Press (Fulton, MO)
  • 2010: Five Lavender Minutes of an Afternoon (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2011: A Murder of Crows (poems), Virtual Artists Collective
  • 2011: The Red, Candle-lit Darkness (poetry chapbook), El Grito del Lobo Press (Fulton, MO)
  • 2011: Far (West Texas) (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2012: Social Networks (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2013: Uncle Ernest (poems), Virtual Artists Collective
  • 2013: Colors (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2014: The Lobsterman's Dream: (Poems of the Coast of Maine), El Grito del Lobo Press (Fulton, MO)
  • 2014: The Goatherd (poetry chapbook), Mouthfeel Press (El Paso, TX)
  • 2014: Art Museums (poetry chapbook), Blue Horse Press (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2014: The Wadded Up Poem Behind the Dumpster (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2015: As If Light Actually Matters: New & Selected Poems, (Texas Review Press)
  • 2015: Los Dias de los Muertos (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2016 The Circus (poetry chapbook, revised print edition), Blue Horse Press (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2016 Jake & Violet (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2016 El Padre (poetry chapbook), nodding onion (Virtual Artists Collective, Chicago)
  • 2016 Bleak Music: Photographs and Poems of the American Southwest, Blue Horse Press (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2016 Placido (poetry chapbook), nodding onion (Virtual Artists Collective, Chicago)
  • 2017 Pecos (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2017 "The Emperor of Ice-Cream" (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2018 Luz: a demanding, elusive, and indomitable muse (poetry chapbook), Right Hand Pointing
  • 2018 The Innkeeper (poetry chapbook), Mouthfeel Press (El Paso, TX)


External links[edit]