Quill and Quire

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Secrets of Weather and Hope

by Sue Sinclair

Secrets of Weather and Hope, the first collection of poems by Sue Sinclair, is a mature, cohesive text filled with light, water, clouds, and bone. Its insistent probing into commonplace phenomenon reads more like an autopsy or excavation of the everyday world than a simple poetry collection.
Divided into four sections – Household Effects, Galleries, Clouds, and The Hours – Secrets explores the common objects that surround us while revealing the subtlety and grace that can be found within both object and observer. A green pepper, she tell us, has, “… never been in love/…/never fantasized about another/fragrant vegetable.” And the red pepper lives, “… as though growth/were a disease, a patient/evolution toward even greater/deformity.” This is the first time a poem about a vegetable caused me to stop and reflect upon the accomplishments, tragedies, and betrayals of those I love.
The abundance of repeated words throughout Sinclair’s work helps bind the individual poems together. This repetition also changes the words from mere components in a poem to complex characters in flux. A simple word like ‘light’ is used as both adjective and noun in enough permetations to remind readers that there are at least 15 to 20 definitions of ‘light’ in the dictionary. Sinclair’s best poems also act as a light to the world around us; the poems ‘enlarge,’ ‘fracture,’ ‘cut,’ and ‘acknowledge’ the world, while enlightening us to both its beauty and sorrow. Sinclair asks us to study our surroundings and then celebrate the dark, the light, and the shadows while watching what lies within them grow.