True As True Can Be

Upstate South Carolina, 1979, late December. The decade is rapidly nearing its end as the holidays approach, and down along Painter Creek in the shadow of a mountain by the same name, nine-year old Lucinda Mae, with the help of her best friend Jean, doesn’t have any trouble finding things to do. But Lucinda Mae is having trouble at school. Her teacher at Laurel Fork Elementary, Miss Cartmill, seems to be wasting away, like she’s ill. Lucinda Mae and Jean have fear and respect for Miss Cartmill, and they’re worried about her. But Miss Cartmill keeps calling Lucinda Mae “saucy.” The girl’s a good student, works hard, but she doesn’t know what saucy means. Is saucy a good thing or a bad thing to be? Is Miss Cartmill in trouble? If so, can they help her?

True as True can be
True as True can be
collection of images of Thorpe Moeckel


Thorpe Moeckel was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. From his late teens to his mid-twenties, he led trips on rivers and trails throughout the Appalachians (mostly and most adoringly, for Southeastern Expeditions on the Chattooga River and for the former TresslerCare Wilderness School in Boiling Springs, PA). He earned a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College in 1994 and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Virginia in 2002, where he was a Henry Hoyns and Jacob K. Javits Fellow. He has taught in the writing program at Hollins University since 2005, and loves to explore the good woods, waterways, and ridges around Virginia and West Virginia, both in writing and with family and friends in real time.

His first book of poems, Odd Botany, won the Gerald Cable Book Award in 2000, as well as the George Garrett Award for New Writing from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. In subsequent poetry books, Making a Map of the River, Venison, and Arcadia Road, as well as two nonfiction books, Watershed Days and Down by the Eno, Down by the Haw, Moeckel has stayed close to the woods and rivers of the Appalachians while exploring a variety of themes, in probing, surprising language and figures that scrape and squirm against easy piety for landscape, nature, family, love, loss, time, and the void.

His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in many journals and magazines, among them Field, Open City, The Antioch Review, Poetry Daily, Taproot, Orion, Poetry, The Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review.

In recent years, his work has been awarded a Kenan Fellowship at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Sustainable Arts Fellowship, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship.



March 21, 2020  •  12:30-1:30

Virginia Festival of the Book, New Dominion Bookshop Charlottesville, VA

Seeing Nature Anew, Reading and Discussion with Margaret Renkl and Laura-Gray Street

February 13, 2020  •  7:30pm

Hollins University, Green Drawing Room Roanoke, VA

Reading with Cathryn Hankla

December 3, 2019  •  4:30

Washington & Lee University, Hillel House Lexington, VA

Reading with fellow contributors to A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia

November 24, 2019  •  3-4:30

Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe Asheville, NC

Reading with fellow contributors to A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia