Review of A Time for Winter, Kait Quinn

A Time for Winter is a journey from hurt through to healing told with the seasons. I have always admired Quinn’s manipulation of the natural world in her poetry and her debut collection is a superb example of this.

Throughout the collection, Quinn focuses on the physical and visceral to convey pervasive emptiness, loneliness and the lessons it took to love herself. In ‘Hurt’ there is a focus on salt – how it stings, its bitterness and how Quinn is certain she will find it beneath her skin, rubbed deeply into all her wounds. The extended metaphors tie into this perfectly as Quinn explores pain via the vastness and unpredictability of the sea.

‘Burn’ reveals the double-edged sword of decay; autumn features heavily and shades of grey remain between Quinn shedding her past and parts of herself. There is a dangerous warmth to letting go and forgetting – the ever constant fear you will let too much leave. But, there are glimmers of love and of a soul searching for solace.

This is where Quinn seamlessly pulls together A Time for Winter as ‘Heal’ acknowledges the need for winter. It is the end and beginning; growth cannot occur without it. Quinn allows more love in and the repetition of previous motifs such as flowers, ice, salt and blood demonstrate the speaker’s subtle growth. These motifs which once were bound to feelings of desperation and loss, morph into vessels for hope. This is a result of Quinn’s craft – her nuanced understanding of progression and structure.

That said, A Time for Winter is also a collection to revisit, one poem at a time. Dipping into Quinn’s work will gift you with modernist pieces, poems brimming with soul and pieces reminiscent of Plath, Poe and Emily Brontë. Quinn owns both her darkness and recovery, and has created something truly beautiful in doing so.

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