Sarah McKinstry-Brown is a poet. She currently lives in Omaha with husband Matt Mason—the Nebraska State Poet—and her two daughters, but she was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, graduating from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2001 with a BA in English. While at UNM, she studied under the late E.A. Mares, poet, historian, and English Professor Emeritus, whom McKinstry-Brown describes as instrumental in helping her begin to take herself and her work as a poet seriously. She then earned an MFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and she holds an MA with a focus in Composition and Rhetoric.
McKinstry-Brown has published Cradling Monsoons (Blue Light Press, 2010) and This Bright Darkness (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), the latter of which was awarded a Nebraska Book Award. It retells the myth of the Rape of Persephone in multiple voices in order to prompt and explore questions of mother/daughter relationships and how women navigate their physical vulnerability in the world. The latter award is only one of her three Nebraska book awards; McKinstry-Brown is also a recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poems appear in publications including RATTLE (available to listen to at this link), Ruminate, Smartish Pace, South Dakota Review, and Sugar House Review, as well as in Virginia’s standardized tests.