Title: Smiling Again: Expressions Through Poetry
Author: James E. Tincher
Genre: Poetry, Self-Help
Reviewed by: Barbara Miller
Pacific Book Review
Author and poet James E. Tincher is the type of person one would think is lucky and happy, after all he is a fit middle age man with a wife, four children, one granddaughter; he’s a father, a gainfully employed provider and absolutely loves sports. Yet he has contemplated suicide. How? Jumping off a bridge (he was standing on the edge), overdosing on pills (he had the bottle in his hand) or driving without a seatbelt into a telephone pole (he passed pole after pole without steering into them). He has actually done none of these, but has seriously and realistically thought about it – over and over.
In his collection of poems titled Smiling Again: Expressions Through Poetry, Tincher opens with his shocking revelation about his bipolar depression and real risk of the “S” word – suicide. One would think how absurd this is, for a man with a wealth of love and family, a stable income and children each excelling in their fields of interest would ever feel this way. The answer becomes obvious in that bipolar disorder is a medical condition, not a social circumstance.
I am not a psychologist nor a doctor, but in reading I have found most books fall into a dichotomy in two categories: books by authors who enjoyed writing it more than readers reading it; and visa versa – books designed for the enjoyment of readers. Tincher transports readers into both of these categories. By this I mean readers, knowing of his bipolar condition, see the benefit of the poetry revealing his inner thoughts, frustrations, feelings and sensitivities which reach deep into his candid observations, thusly relieving “mental pressure” by his expressions. As for the reading satisfaction side of this book, just as interestingly, his poetry is actually very enjoyable to read; more so than most others in the genre, as he holds back any hostility and views the world from his mind’s heightened sensitivity. With no progression of poems in any order to his work, he presents hundreds of short poems, done without any particular foot nor beat, yet each reduced to significant issues he has had to deal with. Some happy, most simply objective along with a few truly sad ones interleaved within.
Due to the book’s formatting with the reveal of suicide in the forward and contact information to the Suicide Prevention Hotline in the conclusion, the poems in the middle can be considered lessons of how to deal with issues life throws at you, obviously presented to help those experiencing suicidal tendencies or thoughts. In this view, the genre of writing is classified as self-help or healing, which will be highly recommended as a tool for treatment of bipolar disorders in others. Both professionals and those with major depression should find “Smiling Again” very helpful.