I was never a poetry reader, but more and more I’ve been getting into contemporary poetry. The way poets inject such passion and storytelling into a few stanzas is incredible to me—a fiction writer who uses a few hundred pages to tell my stories. The loaded simplicity of contemporary poetry is no more apparent than in Mckayla Robbin’s book, We Carry the Sky.
Mckayla contacted me after reading my review of Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey, and offered to send me a copy of We Carry the Sky for a review; an offer I was eager to jump at.
After receiving my copy, I devoured Robbin’s book within an hour…while being hounded by rowdy toddlers. I couldn’t put it down. Robbin writes of feminism, equality, America’s state of hatred, self-love, and rape culture to name a few. I would not call her writing delicate and nor would I want to. I am impressed with Robbin’s boldly frank approach to her poetry. She is blunt and almost accusatory in her writing. She does not let a subject hide or beat around the bush. What’s interesting about this book is that there is a very strong mood and an equally strong tone, but they don’t seem to go hand in hand at first.
There is a fairly exhausted mood to these poems, especially if you read them all in a row as I did. Robbin is fed up and finished with the unnecessary atrocities of the world. She is tired from it. But her tone is empowering and relentless. She takes no excuses. She is fed up, and so she is encouraging change and self-love. In the most lyrical and enchanting way, Robbin portrays heartfelt verses of head and heart.
Several of the poems in We Carry the Sky are about the camaraderie and bonds between women.
But Robbin proves she is not all (very pretty) talk by taking action and demonstrating exactly what she believes in; within this book is a poem in the form of a list of diverse, fellow females, writers, and activists. The honored women range from those of the past to current poets. The support shown within this book, through the poems and the shout out to others striving to influence society, is inspiring. It made me feel like I could be a part of something, that I am apart of something. And though the discussion can get bleak at times, I turned the last page of We Carry the Sky with a sense of hope and a desire to better myself. I felt as if I could forgive myself for whatever I may have been holding on to and move forward in a positive, effective direction.
We Carry the Sky is a quick read that absorbs little of your time but infuses an abundance of potential—potential to love, to heal, to forgive, to change, to say something, to do somethingg—into the soul. I feel better off for having read it.
McKayla Robbin is a writer from Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with a B.A. in English from The College of William and Mary and studied in the Master of Fine Arts – Poetry program at San Diego State University. He work engages themes of femininity, identity, violence, and healing.
We Carry the Sky is an Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Poetry chart topper, and is available to purchase here.
To learn more about McKayla and her writing, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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