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“Stickiness, memorability, is one sign of a good poem. You hear it and a day

later some of it is still there in the brainpan.”

                                                                                                —Garrison Keillor





Thomas R. Moore

(2012 Fort Hemlock Press) 76 pages, $10.00

Chet Sawing cover photo




Thomas R. Moore


 (2010 Fort Hemlock Press) 80 pages, $10.00

Bolt Cutters cover photo


“Thomas Moore is a poet of luminous clarity. He records the subtle beauty of the physical world in language that is vivid and exact. The Bolt-Cutters also gives us a sense of the inner man as he moves through worlds of work, loss, life changes, sweat and celebration.


This poet knows New England, knows the land from working on and with it.  He has also traveled in far places like Turkey and Greece, as well as in their history and art.


Like the students in one poem who suddenly wake up to Robert Frost, ‘and ask to hear the poem again, slower please,’ readers of Thomas Moore will want to linger in these poems, which give us the whole complex sweet-sad world, palpable and richly textured.”


                                                                        --Betsy Sholl, Maine Poet Laureate



“A lot of the themes, imagery and shape of the language in “The Bolt-Cutters” are available in other well-wrought books of contemporary verse. But what sets this collection apart is that practically every poem provides a forceful emotional jolt. A lot of our postwar poetry is so subdued in tone and diction that it severely understates its emotional content and the emotions often disappear from the reading experience; but Tom Moore’s poems evoke strong, finely developed feelings with startling clarity.”


-- Dana Wilde, Bangor Daily News, 1/24/11




Thomas R. Moore's first book of poems, The Bolt-Cutters, was published by Fort Hemlock Press in November 2010 and was one of three Finalists in the 2011 Maine Literary Awards competition.  Two poems from The Bolt-Cutters were featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac in January 2011, and two were 2012 Pushcart nominees. His poem “Calving in Te Awamutu” won first prize in the 2010 Naugatuck River Review's annual narrative poetry contest, and “Chet Sawing” won the 2011 Maine Postmark Poetry Contest. His second book, Chet Sawing, was published by Fort Hemlock Press in November 2012 and was one of three finalists in the 2013 Maine Literary Awards competition. Moore taught English for 40 years in Iran, Turkey, Mali, and the United States. He lives in Brooksville, Maine.




To order The Bolt-Cutters or Chet Sawing send a check for $12.00 ($10.00 plus $2.00 for mailing; Maine residents add 50 cents for sales tax) to Fort Hemlock Press, P.O. Box 11, Brooksville, ME 04617.




The Bolt-Cutters was a Finalist in the 2011 Maine Literary Awards competition.

The Plymouth on Ice” and “At the Berkeley Free Speech Café” were featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac in January 2011.






Barefoot each year until the snow, his

ice-man’s rubber apron girding tattered

shirts, skull-capped Chet braces one knee


against the three-foot circular blade,

draws a file over each tooth, adjusts

a valve, cranks, and the ancient one-lung


engine backs, then catches, the fly-

wheel gaining, and the twisted black

belt begins its thwop-thwop-thwop lashing


the air as Chet, eyes aflame, swings

the logs on the moveable carriage

into the terrifying blade, the oak ash


maple we cut from the forty-acre lot and

along the dark edges of the fields. My father

shoves the logs to Chet, my brother tosses


the stove-lengths, some to the splitting pile,

some to me to pitch through a cellar

window. I am nine, astonished at men.


The thwop-thwop-thwop falls and rises,

falls and rises, the saw-rig stuttering on its

spoked wheels, the Model A to tow it still


attached, the earth blurring, shaking,

the stench of red oak and gasoline, and

Chet, iron-age man, calloused feet deep


in fresh sawdust, bending to the wood,

bending to the saw that in twelve years

will receive him when he falls.




 “Calving in Te Awamutu” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.



When the heifers were birthing

and it was after midnight

raining and bitter and winter in July,

when the thick gorse at the paddock edges

shimmered in the flashlight’s beam

and the ditches were deep mud

and our raingear crackled as we searched for the cows,

when the calves, minutes old, shivered

on legs learning ground, learning grass

and the mothers licked their sticky skins

with barnacle tongues,

when the blankets we threw on the backs of the mothers

were heavy and wet

and we too shivered like the calves,

when a calf strangled in the womb

and I reached inside as far as my shoulder

to cut apart the dead calf with the serrated wire

sawing back and forth, back and forth

to save the mother,

when we took the calves away

and led the first-time milkers to the long shed

and they bolted and stamped and fought at the stanchions

and we attached the suction to their teats

and the milk flowed warm and smoking into the cooler,

when the bullocks were fenced by the road

to be sold to the knacker,

when we sat in the farmhouse for breakfast

of lamb chops and tea,

when we forked pungent silage onto the wagon

behind the blue diesel tractor

and forked it again into the paddocks for feed,

when the rain at last stopped

and we stood on the empty wagon

rolling cigarettes of New Zealand tobacco,

the morning sun was warm and all nature steamed.