Sexual identity, female friendship, and queer experiences of love
Fraught with obsession, addiction, and unrequited love, Catherine Pond’s Fieldglass immerses us in the speaker’s transition from childhood to adulthood. A queer coming-of-age, this collection is a candid exploration of sexual identity, family dynamics, and friendships that elude easy categorization, offering insight on the ambiguous nature of identity.
Saturated by her surroundings and permeated by the emotional lives of those close to her, the speaker struggles with feelings of displacement, trauma, and separateness. She is perpetually in transit, with long drives, flights, and train rides—moving most often between the city and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. As the collection unfolds, the speaker journeys toward adulthood, risking intimacy and attempting to undo her embedded impulses toward silence and absorption.
Reflective, graceful, and understated, Pond’s images accumulate power through restraint and suggestion. Deeply personal and intense, searching and yearning, associative and lyric, Fieldglass is a confessional about growing up, loving hard, and letting go.
Pond's scintillating debut examines family history, female friendship, geography, and sexual identity in poems of startling craft and vision. Many entries contend with the pressure to conform to normative sexualities, and Pond uses the apt metaphor of snow to express a sense of suffocation: "Snow fell forever/ in that room/ and the heater moaned/ in the electrical closet." Images convey much of the speaker's internal fears of isolation, rejection, even institutionalization: "The pine trees/ stood tall in their refusal, antique, undiagnosed." The speaker's awakening to queer perspectives on desire opens up new and complex possibilities of relating to the body and erotic love: "For years I let no one touch me. I had myself to preserve./ Not to mention the poems, which, like rocks, refused penetration./ It was a surprise to discover my body, collapsed like a bridge,/ but still beautiful, still wet with snow." Throughout, poems accumulate and echo off one another, unveiling a distinctive and highly perceptive queer identity on the page.