SLANT Feature Poet

Truth Thomas – March 2023

Truth Thomas

The old adage is that you can’t be all things to all people. Maybe not, but Truth Thomas is many things to many people. This month’s feature poet is a singer, a songwriter, a poet, an editor, a photographer, and a publisher.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Washington, DC., Truth now lives in Columbia, Maryland. He studied creative writing at Howard University and earned his MFA in poetry at New England College. He is the author of five books of poetry: My TV is Not the Boss of Me (2013); Speak Water (2012); Bottle of Life (2010); A Day of Presence (2008); and Party of Black (2006). Speak Water earned for him the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry.

In addition to Slant, Truth’s poems have appeared in over 150 publications, including Poetry MagazineThe Journal of Hip Hop Studies, and The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni). He has also edited or co-edited a number of poetry anthologies, including Where We Stand: Poems of Black Resilience (2022) and The Skinny Poetry Anthology (2019).  In 2012, he founded the press, Cherry Castle Publishing, which publishes books of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and children’s books.

The Skinny Poetry Journal based in Washington, D.C., is a review committed mostly to a poetry form created by Truth in 2005. The “Skinny” is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh, last line, must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of only one word. An example is the poem  “on learning to fly” by Pennsylvania poet Jennifer Schneider:

fresh wings seek










seek fresh wings

You can read Truth’s poem “On a Night When I Didn’t Win the Lottery in Greektown” in our current issue of at Slant Fall 2022 and you can keep up with him at Truth Thomas.