I don't believe I've ever read poetry that was so breathtaking. Yeah I've read poems that inspired me or made me stop and think for a moment or offered a new way to see the old world, but never have I held onto the end of a poem with a breath I could not let go of. McKinstry-Brown's best poems do just that.
It's like when you go to the mountains or the ocean and take all kinds of pictures with your camera. And you're excited to get home and show everyone so you rush to get them developed and lo and behold you have a two-dimensional 4x6 photo which you had actually believed would somehow convey the majesty of the moment and drown out your voice with its vast waves. In the same way we take snapshots throughout life, and look back nostalgically at events and milestones in the lives of our loved ones, but we never really experience that same feeling. Throughout Cradling Monsoons however, there are poems that encapsulate these moments with such finesse and feeling that they glow. When I close my eyes and think of “In the Sixth Month” or “What He Brings Me”, I literally see a page torn from a book, crumpled, and offered to me, but when I open that ball in my imagination, I envision a warm glow emanating from it. I admit, it sounds overdramatic, but that was the first image that came to mind when I reflected on this collection and I cannot shake it from my cognizance.
This is one collection that I will certainly revisit, particularly on those days when I want to escape the silly notions of “life” and recall what living really means.