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Lammy-nominated novelist, editor, and college professor Shelley Thrasher, who grew up in a small, conservative town in East Texas, was a late bloomer. Her first published poetry collection, In and Out of Love, chronicles personal ups and downs during the 1980s and ’90s, when she came out. Most of these 150 brief, haiku-like poems feature images that speak for themselves, influenced by poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, with whom she studied writing.
The first poems portray the crushes and lovers the author was involved with during this period of her life. In part two, they express the longing for something she didn’t understand. Section three chronicles the painful rough spots she encountered during her journey of accepting herself as a lesbian. And the final section celebrates being in love with the woman she has now been joined with for twenty-five adventurous years.
Lee Lynch talks about Shelley’s poetry:
Shelley Thrasher has a way of imbuing even the unlikeliest of words with sensuality. She writes in the style of the great lesbian Imagist poets H.D. and Amy Lowell. Her images are crystalline: "...the sea gnaws at the beach...." Thrasher celebrates life, even its deepest pain. She extols the glories of nature, classical times, art, travel, coming out, and love. In and Out of Love reads like a portrait of a woman who has seen the good and bad sides of life and now finds herself deeply contented while, as she titled one poem, "Peeling Summer Peaches."