Floyd Skloot, Writer


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Approaching Winter

Louisiana State University Press, Paper, 2015, 52 pp

Approaching Winter, Floyd's 8th book of poetry, was published by LSU Press in Fall 2015.

Finalist for the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.

From the Publisher:

In his eighth collection of poems, Approaching Winter, Floyd Skloot--now in his late sixties--writes vividly of the way past and present interpenetrate. He evokes memory's fluid, dynamic, elusive nature, the extraordinary power of its ebbing and flooding in our daily lives. Also, anchored by love, immersed in life lived beside a major urban river with its ever-changing flow and its messages of seasonal passage, Skloot's poems are attuned to the urgency of the present moment. Approaching Winter is concerned with the slippery borders of perception, the zone where time is open, where the distinction between sleep and wakefulness, light and dark, consciousness and unconsciousness uncertain.

Quotes from reviews of the book:

"Skloot is above all a sympathetic poet. His measured optimism, the familiarity of his idiom, the thoughtfulness and kindness in his work animate his poems and welcome the reader." The Hudson Review

"Floyd Skloot's Approaching Winter welcomes the reader from the very first poem, about his grandfather leaving “the old country” after his synagogue was destroyed, and follows immediately with memories of the night his father proposed to his mother as Martians invaded New Jersey. Here's the poet's father trying his hand at home movies and catching only fragments of somebody's cropped head or feet: a brilliant metaphor for how memory itself sneaks up on us. Here are glimpses of Red Barber and the Brooklyn Dodgers, of Fifties classics like 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,' of Chryslers and '52 Buicks, of Chesterfields and Green Stamps, of easy visits to Cuba, of Labor Day block parties in Brooklyn and missile crises and—closer to home—of head concussions playing high school football. Here too are images of the Pacific coast, of a happy marriage and the joys of fatherhood, of ospreys and blue herons—impressionist renditions like his wife's paintings of beloved landscapes. Together these poems read like a masterful memoir set to three-and four-stress lines in a variety of verse forms, each one segueing into the next, each in an idiom we instantly feel at home in, as we follow the poet walking towards seventy, the sun glistening on the waves, the sand, and the glittering dust to which we all return." —Paul Mariani, author of The Whole Harmonium: the Life of Wallace Stevens

" 'Though they should have happened, the events in this poem are imaginary,' notes Floyd Skloot of his wonderful poem 'Samuel Beckett Throws Out the First Pitch.'  At once tough and delicate, elegiac and radiant, the poems gathered in Approaching Winter make room not only for memory but also for possibility.  The poet may not be 'always sure where the boundaries of sleep/may be,' but even as 'memory ebbs and floods' he misses nothing - not his daughter's lost pink barrette, not his late brother's ghostly epiphany 'in the sunstruck glass/of a nearby high-rise.'  Facing the approach of winter, the poems achieve a remarkable equilibrium: even as they pay tribute to the past (polio shots; Red Barber) they have a tranquil spaciousness, as if their faces are turned toward a soft evening sky." —Rachel Hadas, author of The Golden Road

"In Approaching Winter, Floyd Skloot has fashioned a Memory Palace where 'ghosts / drift in a warp of time,' numinous figures from the poet's family as well as historical figures (Handel, Hardy, et al), all 'finding spaces / within the music' of the poems' fine lines. Like his father in 'The Movie Maker,' Skloot specializes in double exposures: pentimento landscapes, lights on water, flickerings of presence on their way back into the shadows. What Andrew Sarris said about John Ford comes to mind: 'His style has evolved almost miraculously into a double vision of an event in all its vital immediacy and yet also in its ultimate memory image on the horizon of history.' The book is pitched in that confluence." —Robert Gibb, author of The Empty Loom

"Low-key but not melancholy, honed but never exquisite, and all along in poem after poem thoughtful and affectionate, Floyd Skloot's wonderful book of new poems carry us into a bright world of family and travel and then, always, delivers a careful return to the sanctity of home. Skloot's vision of family life keeps sight of 'the light from which the universe was formed' and also the 'flickering glow' of ancestors and loved ones. From grandfathers and fathers and brothers and sons to mothers and a wife and a daughter, from George Handel to Thomas Hardy who are members of Skloot's extended cultural family, the people in Approaching Winter that matter deeply to this poet can be found 'in a heartbeat.' With so many memorable stories to tell — a grandfather's departing for America, the charming search for a daughter's lost barrette, the stunning creation of Handel's Messiah — Approaching Winter is Skloot's most intuitive and passionate book yet." —David Biespiel, author of Charming Gardeners and The Book of Men and Women