Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Thomas, 1930-2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            This issue of GHLL is dedicated to the memory of Jim Thomas, (1930-2009), who passed away in February after a valiant battle with bone marrow cancer.  Professor Thomas taught at Truman State University for over thirty years; he was one of TSU's most popular teachers of creative writing and American literature.  He was especially well known for his great enthusiasm, energy and sense of humor, but also for his unparalleled advocacy for and interest in his students.  Jim Thomas was also one of Missouri's finest poets and certainly the poet whose work was most frequently published in our journal; over thirty of Jim's poems appeared with GHLL; four of his very last poems are represented in this issue. 

            Jim Thomas never sought out public acclaim for his poetry the way most writers of his level of talent would have.  Though his work appeared over the years in numerous highly respected venues, including Descant, Souwester', Poetry Wales, The Chariton Review, The Saturday Evening Post, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, and The Cimarron Review, just to name a very few, he only ever put together one collection of his poetry, Seed Time, Harvest Time, (Thomas Jefferson Press, 1990).  Yet Jim Thomas did love to share his work with others; he was well known for handing out copies of his latest poem to anyone who came within range of his office; there are numerous faculty and students who have kept those Thomas offerings over the years, and some choice few of us who were lucky enough to continue to receive poems after his retirement.  The editors of GHLL are presently hard at work collecting all the poems, both before and after 1990, which did not appear in Seed Time, Harvest Time, in order to grace the poetry world with one more volume of Jim Thomas's work.  The Thomas family has given us access to over three hundred poems; we hope to have a volume of selected poems out within the next year or so.  So, while these four present poems in our 2009 issue are the last works Jim Thomas offered for publication in GHLL during his lifetime, fans of his writing will have the opportunity to appreciate the range and scope of a lifetime of great lyric and narrative  poetry, by the most deserving author of a second volume of his creative work that we have ever had the great good fortune to know.

Joe Benevento, Poetry Editor, GHLL