Todd Moore was the literary prize

Todd Moore was a teacher, outlaw poet and a great story teller.  I think all good teachers are outlaws to a certain degree.  I didn’t  know him as long as some of you but I can tell you we connected.  I don’t do that with a lot of people.  Maybe it was because we were both former English teachers; maybe it was because our fathers had similar traits.  Or maybe it was because he was just a class act.

Going through our emails today I found three poems he sent me I never published.  Not because they weren’t good–they all were good but because of my organizational abilities.  I thought about running them here today but Todd preferred print.  So they will go in the next Rusty Truck Issue 2 or 3 or maybe a chapbook we never got around to doing.  He has several poems here and the deuce coupe, so on this day take in a few.  He was a friend early on to the Rusty Truck and the Deuce Coupe and he will be missed.  When I began the Pushcart process he sent me this:

thanks for leaving my name off the Pushcart list.
i do appreciate it.  in my opinion everyone you
nominated deserves to be there.

regarding prizes, i pretty much realized a long
time ago that i wasn’t literary prize material.
i write too many hot button poems to be
eligible for anything.

besides that, i personally believe that i have
made some kind of contribution to writing in this
country but it won’t be until i am safely gone
from this earth that anyone will admit to it.
i think Dillinger alone will guarantee me some
kind of place among the semi immortals or at
least the outlaws.  between the two of us
i cdn’t continue to be an outlaw and win a

i’m just two weeks short of my 72nd birthday
and i’d kind of like to end up having won no
prizes.  it wd be an honor that both i and
charles bukowski wd share.  i also hope against
hope that after i’m gone nobody will offer a
literary prize named after me.  it wd be
goddam embarrassing to have won no
prizes in my lifetime and then end up with
some lit prize with my name on it.

i noticed that you kept yrself off the list, too.
which is a damned honorable thing to do.
sometimes not winning a prize carries more
honor with it than winning one.



you are a good one todd.
i couldnt nominate myself
and wouldnt want to–i get a bigger
kick out of promoting others–

i would like to do a book or two
but not in a hurry
re: your poetry–i have not read a dog in the bunch
you continue to outdo yourself–

the honor is when you bow out for someone else
because you would have been on it



15 Responses to “Todd Moore was the literary prize”

  1. Charles Ries Says:


    I was sorry to learn of Todd Moore’s passing. The small press has lost more then its share of patron saints and outlaw poets in recent months. If there is a bar in heaven, I am sure we will find them all gathered together and waiting to greet us all when our time on earth is up.


  2. John Dorsey Says:

    Scot…thank you for posting this.

  3. I wrote & sent a new poem to Todd’s son. Buk did win the Pushcart at the end of his life the poem was about Three Oranges.


  4. I’m glad I got to see him read before his passing. This is a huge loss for the small press. We are thinking of dedicating the next issue of POESY to him. Not sure. However, this is terribly sad news and he was a great writer and an even better reader.

  5. He’ll be missed.
    He was one of the true outlaws in the alternative press.

  6. Thanks for posting this, Scot. That letter shows more than anything the type of man he was to those of us who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him.

  7. Father Luke Says:

    ” …sometimes not winning a prize carries more
    honor with it than winning one.”

    I liked Todd. I’m going to miss him.

    – –
    Father Luke

  8. Blessed be the eternal ride of the outlaw poet. cp

  9. I am in complete agreement with your assessment of Todd’s worth and value to the world of literature in general and to the outer fringe that we personally haunt. It was a great honor for me to call Todd Moore both friend and mentor. His contributions to my magazine, the Lummox Journal, were always appreciated. Whether it was poetry or essays, Todd was a dead shot…always hitting his mark no matter the distance. I can’t begin to tell you how much I will miss him because I miss him so much now…”Beat the drum slowly, play the pipes lowly, and play the death march as you carry him home…”

  10. Yes, like I said earlier, a great loss. So many friends and fellow poets have passed away in the last two years.

    I’m not sure, but Bukowski told me he got an NEA fellowship too. Boasted he did not have to apply for it. I don’t know if this is true or not. If he did, Martin must have filled out the application for him.

  11. F.N. Wright Says:

    May Todd Moore & his family rest in peace & i hope his family & friends are able to celebrate his life & not mourn too long or painfully.

  12. “between the two of us i cdn’t continue to be an outlaw and win a prize.”

    A fucking out aw till the end.

  13. christopher robin Says:

    a dynamite writer, a classic, an icon, a fighter, a teacher, blood and guts all the way and the best heart. he was my friend and i will miss him terribly. i send my warm thoughts and sympathy to his family.

  14. Doug Draime Says:

    Todd Moore changed the course of the small press drastically, and definitely
    for the better. My condolences to Theron and family, and to all those who knew and loved him.

  15. Mike Hoover Says:

    “i also hope against
    hope that after i’m gone nobody will offer a
    literary prize named after me”. What a great an humble man.

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