On Sept. 19, ETSU students gathered at the Reece Museum to hear poetry performed by writers, Tasha Fouts and Matt McBride.

(Photograph by Chante’ Dobson / East Tennessean)

Fouts presented a collection of her love poems.

In her presentation, she explained that when two people become married, they are expected to transform into this one whole identity. When her friends and family asked her what went wrong in her marriage, she responded nothing went wrong. She and her ex-husband are still great friends; they merely needed to go their separate ways.

She decided to write a poem after this experience, and she used gravity as a metaphor for her relationship.

According to Fouts, she believes that nothing in the world is genuinely whole, it just looks that way, but in reality everything is held loosely together by tightly packed tiny particles.

“Each particle so dependent on one another that they appear as a unit,” Fouts read.

In other words, people in a marriage are like particles; they depend on one another so much that they appear as one whole identity. The slightest shift of a particle and the whole unit falls apart, so the minor change in a relationship and the entire marriage falls apart.

McBride performed poetry from a book he wrote entitled “City of Incandescent Light.” 

The poems he shared at the event were centered around city images. He explained that he likes to write about how he feels after viewing pieces of visual art and his personal experiences.

“I start with a feeling but not an easy feeling like happy or sad,” McBride said.

In his poem “Salvation Army” he describes his admiration for the thrift store. When he was younger, he loved to shop at thrift stores.

McBride has written this poem three times and is still trying to revise it, so the intensity of the poetry matches his sentiments about thrift stores.

In his poem “1999,” he describes how this was his most “melancholy” year.

Imagine a 19-year-old paying around a dollar to catch a ride on the nearest bus. Sitting down towards the back and just riding, with no destination in mind, for hours. The bus driver looks back at the teen with pity in their eyes because this occurs daily. The teen is searching for an escape, and if the escape is not on the bus, then it’s in the bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag.

The event was an overall success, and those that attended received the opportunity to have their copies of the literature autographed.

Fouts and McBride were impressed with the number of students that attended the event.

Fouts believed that this event served as an excellent opportunity to connect with McBride, the coordinators of the event and ETSU students.

“It was an honor to read with Matt, and we appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with Mark and Beth and read at ETSU,” Fouts said.

On Oct. 25, there will be another opportunity for students to hear a famous author. Xhenet Aliu will be reading pieces from her novels.

The event will be free to the public, and everyone is encouraged to come.