McNair to Brinkerhoff Email #16

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Robert —

You are so good. I could gaze into your “simple” images for a long time. As in fact I have just done.
I like these more. I like both of them for their art alone. And they both speak to the book, for sure. My riick is the top image. But I wonder if there could be more hope in its background. For me, this is a poetry collection about hard-won affirmation, mine and everyone’s, and this affirmation — the light finally achieved — is as important as the darkness that started the journey toward it. (Something mythological there!) 
Of course I like the telephone poles, but let me speak only of the bird, an affirmative image for me in the way its flight transforms the levitation of the title poem, “The Unfastening.” Could there be other birds? Could the background be lit more, against, perhaps, a somewhat darker foreground? 
Maybe not. You realize, I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, since you’re the expert. All I know if that the background needs something more positive in it. I like your direction a lot, and. as ever,  I like the way your mind works.
PS: You say a lot by the fact the foreground figure has his head down. Not only is he in despair, but he’s unable to see what’s there (and will be there) in the background to observe. This picks up the book’s persistent theme that how you interpret the world and your experience in it depends on “seeing” it truly, in ways the poems explain. 
*McNair later adds in a separate email*
I was trying to think of a background image that reflects the love of a mate, as that’s one of the book’s primary consolations, but I came up with was pear trees, which wouldn’t exactly be visible at that distance… So nevermind, you get the idea. Over and out!