Eyewear Publishing, UK, Cloth, 2014, 73 pp
Available in the US through Small Press Distribution (SPD)
Close Reading is Floyd Skloot's seventh full-length collection of poetry. Its forty-six poems, ranging from sonnets and free verse lyrics to longer meditations and sequences, have appeared in Boulevard, The Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review, Image, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and many other magazines.
This book was featured in England's Poetry Book Society Bulletin in February, 2014.
The book begins with ten poems about painters, composers, and writers at critical moments in their personal and creative lives, moments when everything changes or comes into focus. A second section includes 13 lyric poems of intense, intimate recollection, moving from childhood to the cusp of old age. At the center of Close Reading is a sequence of six poems about writing, reading, literary debts, and the impulse to write. It begins with a tribute to Skloot's mentor, the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella, and ends with a tribute to Skloot's daughter, Rebecca, upon completion of her own first book. This section is followed by a group of poems about health and illness, including five that emerged from Skloot's six-month encounter with intractable vertigo. These poems, with their search for balance in a dizzying world, elaborate one of the collection's central themes. A section of poems about love and place bring Close Reading to conclusion that unifies the book.
Many forms of love--between husband and wife, father and daughter, artist and apprentice--are explored, as is the artistic process itself, as the poems seek to understand what gives life purpose in the face of the ordeals and losses within time's passing.
Quotes from reviews of the book:
"A poet of real distinction." —John Greening, Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
"Unsparingness of outlook while preserving wonder and generosity is what Skloot has been trained in as a poet . . . . Skloot's simplicity and straightforwardness of presenting narrative and image is not to be taken as just happening automatically, any more than his technical mastery especially in sonnets is to be taken for granted. . . . This is a tremendous book." —Peter Daniels, London Grip, londongrip.co.uk