Thomas Devaney

Thomas Devaney, Runaway Goat Cart, Hanging Loose Press, 2015

Runaway Goat Cart

Hanging Loose Press, 2015
Cover art by Bill Traylor
Available from Small Press Distribution

“Thomas Devaney in Runaway Goat Cart takes us back—“Back in the mashed potato kitchen”—and even if our back is not his, it doesn’t matter. The places he takes us to are always worth the trip. His ambition to chart the seasons is admirable, and well within reach for a poet of Devaney’s focus and finesse. He writes smoothly, so it doesn’t even seem like writing sometimes but rather speaking—from the heart, each time. I want to know the places he knows, the times. There is real life and real work in these poems, strange to find it all there, a complete world.”
–Vincent Katz

“The tutelary spirits hovering around Thomas Devaney’s new collection include Philip Whalen and Erik Satie, Thelonious Monk and James Madison—maybe they have something to do with the astringent buoyancy and ‘essential tension’ of these poems, with their handmade textures, their atmosphere thick with intimate geographies and unbetrayable childhood confidences. ‘Tone matters.’ It sure does, as Runaway Goat Cart demonstrates in multiple entrancing ways.”
–Geoffrey O’Brien

“Is technique the true test for a durable emotion conveyed? Try Thomas Devaney’s gently rollicking sincerity on for size. The poem for his sister, for instance, “Things We String Together”: an “impossible” prospect but he pulls it off––compendious, intimate, elegant, the appropriate space between poet “I” and sibling addressee made close and breathing throughout. Devaney’s “cart” is pulled along by childhood (in public readings “Burning the Bear Suit” always brings down the house), self reflection and admonition, art appreciation, history, and an abiding love of particular people and plain things. The “runaway” part, I guess, is his generosity––first to himself, then to us––in letting go of the poem just enough to let it show what can happen (what if . . .?). Devaney is a poet interested in life as he lives it. As one poem has it, “J says ‘We get lost in life, but life always knows where we are.’”
–Bill Berkson