Dallas Saylor

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)




This collection is my meditation on parenthood from the perspective of a young man who is certainly not yet a father but wants to be one someday. Inevitably, a meditation on parenthood is also a meditation on childhood, for you can’t have a parental structure without a child being involved. As I tried to characterize childhood, hope became a prominent theme—it seems all children share a gift for hope. And perhaps, as some of my poems query, parenthood thus brings with it a fundamental hope too. As I worked through these poems of growth, I thought about many of the people who have contributed to my own growth in some way or another. As an act of gratitude, I began to dedicate several of my poems to the people who inspired them. I had seen poems dedicated before, but the idea really stuck with me when I read John Burnside’s Gift Songs last summer. A review of the book begins, “To the Shakers, a good song was a gift; indeed the test of a song’s goodness was how much of a gift it was.” I began to consider some of my own poems as “gift songs,” and I knew they wouldn't be complete unless I actually “gave” them (through dedication and through an actual presentation) to the people who inspired them. So I hope this collection bears witness to the influence of just a few of the many people who have made me who I am. I hope these poems are gift songs for them, but I also hope they are universal, that they bear enough truth to be gift songs for all my readers.