TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

The poems in Tincture want to understand and to be understood.  Much of the work in Tincture concerns itself with making a connection, be it intellectual, emotional, or both, with the outside world.  The speakers in many of the poems seek to explain, sometimes desperately so, their stories in ways that will allow them to be digested by both the reader and by the other characters that inhabit the worlds of the poems.  Other poems concern themselves more not with the life of the speaker, but with the lives of others the speaker encounters: loved ones, students, people in the news, icons of popular culture, and animals.  The speaker in these poems pushes for empathy as a way to make a connection -- between subject and speaker, between subject and reader, and, as a not-so-secret hidden desire, between speaker and reader.

The poems that reach toward empathy do so by truly trying to feel what the subject of the poem is feeling.  Unlike a sympathetic poem, which may just paint a picture of a subject's situation to elicit an emotional reaction, the empathetic poems in Tincture try to toil through a reasoning for the subject's thoughts, feelings, or actions.  This strategy attempts to open the door toward understanding, both for the speaker and for the reader.

These poems freely admit things, which could label them as confessional.  However, these confessions rarely result in catharsis, since the same troubles pop up again and again.  Instead, these confessions come from a place of fear, perhaps the most pervasive emotion throughout the entire collection.  If the poems air these fears and these observations, perhaps they can then be released into the world, tamed.  Perhaps then there's the hope that they can't come back to haunt, though they inevitably do.  It all circles back to the concept of connection, of a want to be an active participant in humanity and to invite readers to do the same.

poetry, cats, heart, teaching