Irene McKinney has published three previous poetry collections:The Girl with the STone in Her Lap, The Wasps at the Blue Hexagons, and Quick Fire and Slow Fire.
The speaker in Irene McKinney’s poems is most often alone, sitting at the side of a stream, or standing at her own chosen gravesite in the Appalachian mountains, and the meditations spoken out of this essential solitude are powerfully clear, witty, and wide-ranging in content and tone. The center sequence of poems in the Emily Dickinson persona explores and magnifies that great and enigmatic figure.
The poems are firmly grounded in concern for the ways in which the elemental powers are at work in the earth and in us: on the surface of our lives, and deeper in the underworld of the coalmines. In McKinney’s poems, the human world is never seen as separate from the natural one.