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Vivid Companion

Irene McKinney
PB  978-0-937058-92-3 
PDF  978-1-935978-18-3


This fifth collection of poetry from West Virginia's poet laureate and author of Six O'Clock Mine Report is an extraordinary set of poems which reflects the complexity, the magnanimity, and the resilience of the human spirit. McKinney writes with candor, precision, and compassion; most importantly, though, her poems are accessible to all types of readers.


    • Our Lady of the Iguanas
    • Gray’s Anatomy
    • The Surgery
    • The Stutter
    • Clitoral
    • Fodder
    • Ravi Sings
    • Fame
    • Ironweed
    • Personal
    • Constant Companion
    • Mary Cragin: The Honeymoon, 1834
    • Catherine Baker: Arrival at Oneida Creek, 1848
    • The Testimony of Harriet Worden, 1850
    • Sarah Burt: The Doll Burning, 1851
    • Solitude in the Oneida Community: Victor Cragin Noyes, 1866
    • Professor Mears of Hamilton College Speaks to the Court
    • The Tree of Life Tapestry: Jessie Kinsley, 1927
    • Hiding
    • Filthy Weather
    • Three Three Three
    • Immanent
    • Covering Up
    • Low Red Moon
    • Full Moon: Sitting Up Late At My Father’s Bedside
    • Monkey Heart
    • Home
    • Stained
    • Atavistic
    • Woods Burning
    • Redemption
    • Dark Rain
    • Homage to Roy Orbison
    • Homage to Baroness Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven
    • The Dream Feast
    • Adobe
    • Handholds
    • Face
    • Illuminated Manuscript
    • At 24
    • The Walk
    • Viridian Days
    • Ready
  • Notes


Irene McKinney grew up in the small town of Bellington, WV and received her BA at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She received her PhD from the University of Utah . Currently she is the Director of Creative Writing and an associate professor of English at West Virginia Wesleyan College. McKinney was appointed Poet Laureate of West Virginia in 1993. McKinney's real gift is her ability to use her poetry to reflect the beauty of the state and its residents, and her works are a tribute to the spirit of West Virginia.


"McKinney's poetry reflects the beauty of the state and its residents, and her works are a tribute to the spirit of West Virginia."
Bookshelf Reviews, West Virginia University Alumni Magazine

"Vivid Companion's 44 poems defy the tendency toward female self-deprecation, and McKinney forcefully embraces her body and history as relevant, positive, and spiritual. The poet's intention centers less on confession than understanding as she walks through scenes of her aging body, her father's death, rural surroundings, and a historical interlude on new York's historical Oneida Community . . . While her position as the lifetime poet laureate of West Virginia centers her work on the Appalachians, her scope supercedes territory to encompass the overarching soul of the natural world and femininity in conflict."
Casie Fedukovich, American Book Review


Listen to Garrion Keillor's interpretation of "A Homage to Roy Orbison" on the April 25th broadcast of The Writer's Almanac.
Listen to McKinney's "Ready," which aired on The Writer's Almanac on May 15. 2009.
These poems are part of McKinney's collection of poems found within Vivid Companion.