presents his new poetry collection, Almost Human, winner of the Dorset Prize, selected by Edward Hirsch.
As in a profound love affair, Thomas Centolella’s new poems register attraction, delight, expectations fulfilled and foiled, and moments of great feeling cherished and/or lamented. Employing the vividness of narrative without yielding to its linear strictures and overly familiar tonalities, many of the first person protagonists in Almost Human are mysterious figures at once engaging and idiosyncratic, even outright eccentric. Often betwixt and between, neither here nor there, they are uncertain of actually getting anywhere. Almost Human documents the restive life-force incarnated in an endangered species—our own—and charts the movement of the self between spirit and human, recalling the idea, attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, that we aren’t human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience.
Thomas Centolella has published three previous books of poetry: American Book Award-winner Terra Firma, Lights & Mysteries, and Views from Along the Middle Way. He was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and has taught literature and creative writing at San Francisco State, UC extension, the College of Marin, and in the California Poets in the Schools Program as well as for the Institute on Aging and WritersCorps. He lives in San Francisco.