“In Ever Yours, Vincent, McKenna Themm creates the imagined world of a great artist — an interior landscape of nuance and seductive color. At the core of this book is a quest for self worth, for meaning, a quest that takes place within every human. A reader might hear her own inner voice when the poet questions how to protect the lingering innocence one struggles to release and how to give light and to preach light and to not get anything in return. Surely there is a moment when each of us wonders if our individual life will be a fit gift. Themm channels universal and profound questions through the lyrical voices of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo while wisely keeping a finger on both her own and her reader’s pulse.”
“The title of McKenna Themm’s poetry collection, Ever Yours, Vincent, inspired by the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, could be a valediction from one of the painter’s letters or a declaration to the artist by the poet herself. Drawing widely on various poetic modes—ekphrasis, the ars poetica, the epistolary lyric, among others—Themm presents a voice that is both contemporary and timeless. These poems are cosmic and luminous, tender and earnest, charting the universal struggle to understand oneself in this large, painful, beautiful world.”
Dr. Blas Falconer
"In exquisite detail, McKenna Themm’s debut collection punctuates the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh, exploring moments of doubt within faith, creation, and love. The beautifully imagined voices of Vincent and his loved ones intermingle to create abundant and fresh images, rendering a familiar figure anew. By tenderly pressing the artist’s consciousness, Themm creates a Van Gogh obsessed with love and work and love of work in a world populated by held hands, April blossoms, lavender, and letters. Gently revealing that madness, like smoke, unfurls rather than explodes, the reader is invited to consider the precarious gorgeousness of ill preservation, the way sunflowers on a grave wither gradually, minutely, and not all at once.”
McKenna Themm earned her MFA in Creative Writing: Poetry from San Diego State University. Her poems have been published by several journals, including The Poet, Ekphrastic Review, Bryant Literary Review, pacificREVIEW, and The Headlight Review. She is a Marsh-Rebelo scholarship recipient and an AWP Intro Journals Award nominee. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online poetry magazine boats against the current and the managing editor at The Los Angeles Review. .
the stars, my cousins
When I first learned what a constellation
was, the world broke open
before my eyes and yet the only
thing that mattered was my brother’s laughter
rolling across the field, scaring away
the crows as we sat bare-legged on the
dirt. I never once imagined
that a planet could have its own moon — or
many moons — or that a yellow
star and a blue one might be related
by their temperature and luminosity.
Once I knew the names of Ursa Major and Orion,
I felt closer to them, as though I could
see their family tree connecting with mine.
I felt closer to them than most of my
own relatives. They told a story,
shared a legacy: the life of
the universe and all that it contains.
And if I were to become my own planet,
would a small moon tether my seas?
Would I find myself at the edge of the Milky Way
amongst the loneliest stars in space?