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Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Conversation Pieces) (Volume 50) Paperback – August 1, 2016
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The lyrical gifts of Thomas, editor of the celebrated Dark Matter anthologies, are on full display in this collection of poetry and short fiction. Her poems are imbued with rich, sensual imagery and range over subjects mundane, fantastical, and somewhere in between: the memory of a mother braiding her daughter's hair in ''Rootwork''; an oracle in the form of a homeless woman whose ''mismatch clothes/ cover robes that got wings'' in ''Visitation of the Oracle at McKain Street''; and the mythological Arachne, ''Star weaver of tears,'' in ''Arachne Star'' and ''Arachne on the Rebound.'' She invokes the rhythms of African-American ring shouts and the dense, humid atmosphere of the American South. Her stories include reinventions of mythology, such as Medusa and Arachne ambushing the goddess Athena in revenge in ''Arachne & Medusa Jump Athena,'' and haunting modern folktales about women with their roots in rivers (in ''River, Clap Your Hands'') and swamp trees (in ''Tree of the Forest Seven Bells''), with references to recent natural disasters and human-created pollution. Thomas's skill with poetry and prose is remarkable, and even the shortest poems in this volume contain ideas and images that will linger in the reader s mind. (Aug.) --Publishers Weekly July 2016
About the Author
Sheree Renée Thomas is the author of Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems and the editor of the World Fantasy Award-winning anthologies, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones. Her work has appeared in Stories for Chip: Tribute to Samuel R. Delany, Memphis Noir, The Moment of Change: Feminist Speculative Poetry, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mojo: Conjure Stores, 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, and other books. In 2015 she served as the Lucille Geier Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College, and received the Wallace Foundation Fellowship at the Millay Colony of the Arts, as well as fellowships at the Blue Mountain Center and VCCA. In 2016 she was named a Tennessee Arts Fellow in Creative Writing by the Tennessee Arts Commission. She has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, Writers Omi/Ledig House, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. A native of Memphis, Thomas writes between a river and a pyramid.