Book Review | “Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown”

— by Lin McNulty —

Orcas poet Jill McCabe Johnson recently released a new collection of her luscious poetry in a book entitled “Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown.” (Finishing Line Press)

Good poetry is a two-way street. The poet bares the soul and the reader is, then, awakened to a shared convergence of thought and emotion.

When I picked up “Revolutions” for review, I opened randomly to a poem entitled “Cavity.” I was so touched by her lines that it took me weeks to actually look at the rest of the book, choosing instead to “live with” this specific poem which so spoke to me. It caused me to look at things in my life that perhaps I had never examined before; every word resonated a newly-discovered, long-hidden truth.

As reflected on the back cover, “Jill McCabe Johnson writes in the tradition of the French Medieval “Chanson d’Aventure,” or Song of Adventure, where a writer walks for immersion, enlightenment, and inspiration. Many of these poems were written on a self-directed walking and writing trek through France in the weeks leading up to and during the ISIS attacks on Paris.”

Walking with this poet on her journey, the reader learns (what it’s like to be female in a male world), remembers (events and emotions long tucked away), wonders (about the juxtaposition of world events), and/or lashes out (with a fist that welcomes and shuns the beauty and pain of relationships).

“Cavity” remains within me, in the same manner she writes: “lodging in your chest cavity another twenty or thirty years.” The same may be said for the other brilliant works in this collection, the reading of which is not necessarily a page-turner if you want to truly experience each poem’s gut-level depth. But it’s definitely a keeper — hopefully within arm’s reach at any given moment as you find a need to return to it many, many times as life continues apace.

“Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrown” is available from Darvill’s Bookstore.


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