Wild Embrace is a collection of poetry written by Tim Hatch (a damaged-but-resilient child abuse survivor) that explores themes of abuse, fragility, and our human obligation to one another.
On so many levels, Hatch’s poems are engaging and moving. It takes a great deal of talent to do what Hatch accomplishes in Wild Embrace; our re-lived experiences can have a kind of occupancy over us, but Hatch finds ways to share his past and dramatize intense human interactions in ways that allow us to witness what is too often unspoken, surrounded by complexities and paradoxes, and shaded with overtones. With wit, wonder, surprise, and empathy, Hatch affirms what we already know about ourselves and others in his unique and vivid collection.
—Juan Delgado, author of Vital Signs, winner of the American Book Award
Tim Hatch throws a Wild Embrace around subjects most men dare not speak about, “praying in the crawlspace between enlightenment / and wakefulness.” In these poems, Hatch chases the bear around the picnic table, until “[h]e leaps / across the table, clawing / for me.” Hatch interrogates the legacy of a father’s father’s father, and in so doing, implicates himself: “I know there were never enough / years to begin with, and I remember / when I threw away a prayer for you / to suffer like this / every day.” How many fathers back to find the root cause of what ails us? How many sons forward to find the antidote? “But all that pain / isn’t mine, it began in the house my grandfather / grew up in / or the house his grandfather / grew up in / and I wonder how far back the houses go.…” With wry humor and an itchy specificity, he invites us to lie down on “the shag / rug that smells like Reaganomics and dog / hair.” Tenderly he jabs his finger into the wound, finds beauty there, if not a kind of redemption.
—Cati Porter, author of The Body at a Loss
It is common, perhaps necessary, for a first book to grapple with The Father. What is not common is the raw forthrightness of Wild Embrace. I think of Jack Nicholson’s famous line from “A Few Good Men”: You can’t handle the truth. It is poet’s job to discover and tell a personal truth, not sparing the self or the other, helping one you at a time to handle it. Every child comes into/the world, an expected miracle, squirming/ for escape. Tim Hatch meets the challenge in his debut collection. I am already looking forward to his next book.
—Donna Hilbert, author of Gravity: New & Selected Poems (2018) and Threnody (2022)
Wild Embrace careens the reader through a dizzying multiverse of male transgenerational trauma, bullying, and redemptive possibilities that hover tantalizingly on the margins of these 64 powerful poems. At moments starkly comical, and at others startlingly sweet, Tim Hatch's collection always brings the reader in close, into a space that lies beyond fear, where we cannot help but embrace the poetic speaker as he leans—sometimes despite himself—towards love.
—Stephanie Barbé Hammer, author of How Formal? and Rescue Plan
Some of the poems in Tim Hatch’s Wild Embrace detail the pain that he went through in his childhood, which are of course personal as they open up universal themes of pain and loss. Some of them deal with the relationships that he has now and the joy and pain they engender. However, at the heart of all of these is a searching within himself to find those patterns of abuse and casualness in relationships to acknowledge that he is not a perfect person and to make sure he is as kind and open in his relationships as he can be. This is first rate poetry, but more important, this is a guidebook to all of us who are flawed. Here is his own journey into the self without ego, without pretense to find how to be the kind of person he would like to be. This is about the ambition to be loving, and it is an extraordinary collection.
—John Brantingham, author of Life, Orange to Pear