Michelle Tinklepaugh's a special poet and I'm going to tell you why. She does with words what a great watercolorist does with paint, but she paints the most serious, often tragic, archetypal images you're apt to find from any poet on social media. This means two things: first, she has a unique voice and, second, she's immersed in themes that many poets typically avoid or fumble.
Her poem "mustard bones and other ways to pay the ferryman" is a brilliant piece of poetry. Click on Michelle's picture above to read the whole poem and you'll soon see why I've got my work cut out for me in this post.
Sure, this poem feels like Emily Dickinson and intones like Sylvia Plath, but I defy you to keep these associations past the final line. This poem goes somewhere neither of those Titans visited, and it's purely Tinklepaugh's vision, theme, and aesthetic. It's not surrealism, precisley, and it's not only Symbolist. This fusion and originality generally signals a complete poet, one that should be published regularly in the literary journals, have books out, and be taken seriously by critics.
I can't do much about the first issue, but I'm happy to announce that Tinklepaugh has found a publisher and will release a book sometime soon. It's only on the third count that I can contribute. I'm not a critic, per se, but I take Tinklepaugh's art very seriously, as seriously as I take anyone publishing in the journals or elsewhere.
I urge you to read her work, which you can do by following her blog or following her on Facebook. My upcoming First Flashes anthology features a poem from Tinklepaugh and I'm excited to include her work.
It's going to take another blog post to get down to actually talking nuts and bolts about her poetry. For now, read the linked poem, think about it, and realize that this poem starts with:
i carry your bones in my pocket
the smooth round ends
into knife points
but every single line gets better until, 75 lines later, we reach what's best described as the poem's true beginning.
I'll be blogging more about Tinklepaugh's excellent poetry soon, which will gain her a category of her own on this blog, something her work well deserves. mustard bones and other ways to pay the ferryman