Uncle Ernest reads like a tragic novella written in concise, highly accomplished free verse. In thirty-nine, exquisitely crafted poems composed entirely of three-to-five syllable lines, Thomas revisits the deep East Texas backwoods he made so hauntingly memorable in his previous collections, The Woodlanders (Pecan Grove Press 2002) and Plain Pine (Right Hand Pointing 2010). Set both in the shadowy woodlands and in the shocking confines of an asylum for the criminally insane, Uncle Ernest is the propulsive tale of a single mother and her fraternal twins beset by an unspeakable, unpremeditated tragedy which changes their lives forever. The darkness of the narrative is brilliantly counterpointed with the dazzling lyricism of the poetry.
The cover photo and cover design are by Regina Schroeder.
Uncle Ernest is thigh-deep in blood. Yet every page is infused with bleak sweetness, with mercy & with grace. Like a brilliant angel dreaming of a monster, Larry D. Thomas leads us to a dark place—but we are happy to go where the dark can be so dazzling.
–Stella Brice, author of Green Lion & Outgrow
Once again, Larry Thomas’s characteristic penetrating imagery and staccato rhythm unfold a world of complex undercurrents. Uncle Ernest is a shocking yet plaintive narrative related through exquisite lyrical poems demonstrating the symbiosis of violence and beauty.
–Clarence Wolfshohl, Professor Emeritus, William Woods University and Publisher/Editor, El Grito del Lobo Press