Writing this spotlight has been difficult – not because Tommye doesn't have incredible writing, but because I love this man so much it's hard not to just gush about him as a human being. But his work deserves the attention. He's among those writers whose poems are phenomenal, but who flies under the radar: he doesn't much care to promote himself, and attention sometimes flusters him.
So let's fluster Tommye. We got to know each other at Cave Canem, and he was my buddy during the first semester of my MFA program at Warren Wilson, so I've been watching his writing for some time. Among the main strengths I noticed then, and what has only improved in his work, is Tommye's incredible strength with tone. More than most writers in our peer group, Tommye revels in nuance and ambiguity, allowing for different meanings and readings to vacillate through his lines. He is a poet of depth, and mystery, but in a way which somehow only enhances the emotional power of his poems. Tommye's speakers are often haunted romantics, sporting somewhat acerbic humor sometimes, at others, a disembodied ache that infects his reader. Keep an eye out for Tommye's work over the next few years; he's already phenomenal, with far more to show.
The poem below was previously published in Upstreet.
From Detroit, Michigan, Tommye Blount is an Advertising graduate from Michigan State University, a Cave Canem fellowship recipient, and a recent graduate from Warren Wilson College's MFA Program for Writers. He's had work published in various online and print journals.