The Honickman Foundation


Tomás Q. Morín, A Larger Country

A Larger Country, Tomás Q. Morín, is the 2012 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Morin's manuscript is a masterful collection of storytelling that is brimming with images of war-torn Eastern Europe in the mid-1900s to modern-day glimpses of Morin's home state of Texas.

Acclaimed poet Thomas Sleigh, who selected and enthusiastically wrote the introduction, described A Larger Country as "a distinctive and darkly humorous debut collection."

As poet Edward Hirsch wrote, "Tomás Morín invokes his heroic literary forebears — Czeslaw Milosz, Isaak Babel, Miklós Radnóti, amongst others — in his energetic and moving book of fantasias and elegies, alert to history, rich with memory, which is, as he tells us, 'a larger country.' I welcome this "'pageantry of the interior,' this memorable first book."

Tomás Q. Morín is a native of Texas and was educated at Texas State University and Johns Hopkins University. A former fellow at the Idyllwild Summer Arts Program, He is the recipient of scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Narrative, Boulevard, Slate, Threepenny Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere.

Tomás lives in San Marcos, Texas, and is a senior lecturer at Texas State University.

Flea Circus

When civilization ended a few rejoiced
because it meant losing
the horror of butchering
the last animal for the last
supper of meat. The next time
everything collapsed,
I joined the circus and slept on straw,
read Tolstoy
to the snoring zebras, lectured them
on the holiness
of the haunch, on the hideousness
of tears. Tonight,
I am the star grinning in the center
of the ring, waiting
for the gasp of the first housewife
to see the well-groomed
mat of hair on my back
that will remind her
of the dogs she loved, the ones
she could no longer feed
or bring herself to eat. The lights dim
and I wait on all fours
for the music to cue the girl in sequins
whose job is to pour
along my back the bucket of gymnasts
and high-wire acts
to make me dance and join the chorus
with my baritone
until the crowd rises to its feet and laughs
the stale, heartsick night away.

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