Floyd Skloot, Writer


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Selected Poems: 1970-2005

Tupelo Press, Paper 2008, 160 pp

Winner of the 2009 Pacific NW Booksellers Association William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award:  "In this selection from a long and accomplished career, the poet and memoirist Floyd Skloot has established his place as one of the nation's premier poets. Across a wide range of moods, Skloot offers us his deeply moving and - ultimately - celebratory enthusiasm for the common moment."

Winner of the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book of the Year Silver Award.

From the Publisher:

A retrospective look at the best of Floyd Skloot's work, which is at once powerful and plain spoken, wise and compassionate, and drawn from his six previous award-winning books of poetry.  Floyd Skloot has attracted a wide audience for his singular skill at writing poetry that lingers; his words are intimate, wise, and deeply affecting. While including the finest of his earlier poetry, Selected Poems: 1970-2005 concentrates on his work over the last two decades, a period defined by life-changing illness, deep love, years of living in the remote woods of western Oregon, and a passionate exploration of the meaning of memory, the power of creative impulse, and the mysterious places where dreams and reality meet.

Quotes from reviews of the book:

"Skloot's reputation for quiet warmth and mellifluous rhymes—on display in poems about his elderly parents, his growing (now grown) daughter and the green slopes and rivers of his rural Oregon—are peculiarly hard-won clarities: during the late 1980s, in the same years that his verse first gained some fame, a rare virus attacked his brain. Ever since, Skloot has suffered from—and described, in poems and a memoir, The Shadow of Memory—cognitive and mnemonic impairments that interfere with his daily life. Skloot's demotic language and his focus on pathos will remind some readers of William Stafford, others of former laureate Ted Kooser, as when, over bowls of soup, 'steam. . . . rose like the past made whole.' As this cull from Skloot's five earlier volumes moves from the first (1994's Music Appreciation) to 2005's Approximately Paradise, the proportion of such lyric moments slowly recedes. Instead, the poems develop an increasing focus on the end of life: a startling diptych shows Skloot's ailing mother, while other pages depict writers, artists and composers, each one glimpsed near his death: Freud in London, Maurice Ravel with aphasia and the French composer Couperin 'deep in the brief coda of his years.'" —Publishers Weekly

"Suffused with a profound wisdom and lyric beauty. . . . Skloot's is an extraordinary voice that gains in power over time, one that brings us closer to the mysteries that hover beyond the experiences of our daily lives. . . . It is an account of a life fully lived, mining the beauty of each moment and finding significance in the most trying situations. While poets will long enjoy his superb craft, his gift of language, and the music in his poems' meter, I believe that physicians and clergy could learn much about our humanity in this remarkable work. This is a work that will endure, instruct, and delight for many years to come." —Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard, Prairie Schooner

"Floyd Skloot has become a notable figure in the poetry world. . . . Selected Poems is a seminal addition to any poetry collection, a highly recommended choice." —Midwest Book Review

"Every word is attended to in Skloot's poetry, every phrase, every line.  These poems are taut and vibrating, perfectly balanced.  Nothing is superfluous, everything is intentional.  Each of these poems is a gem, perfectly crafted and totally capturing both the reader's heart and mind.  They attest to a difficult life well lived, and they chronicle that life - and much more - with grace and passion. . . . Skloot excels at capturing the fragments that make up a time, a place, a state of mind.  Fully imagined and lustrous, they serve to bring to vivid and glaring life all of the richly textured and multi-layered facets of their subjects' realities. . . . Skloot is nothing if not a humanist (with a small h), intensely sympathetic to the human plight.  Does this come as a result of his struggles with his health?  Or, as a result of the discipline of his writing?  It really doesn't matter, in the end.  Selected Poems is a book that speaks beautifully in a true voice, of the reality of human being, of the things we face, and of those we don't.  And, it's always rewarding, as all good books of poems are, rich, and warm, and full of light." —Chris Faatz, PowellsBooks.BLOG

"Art is recovery.  Or for Skloot, the discovery that recovery is possible.  He has re-wired himself to find thriving prototypes, assurances, hope.  This is the sweet stuff.  But it is triggered by something else that runs through - and informs the shape of - this remarkable collection of poems.  With Selected Poems, Floyd Skloot now finds himself, surprisingly, in the center of what often seemed impossible." —Ron Slate, On the Seawall blog

Quotes from reviews of the individual books:

"These are intelligent poems that wear their learning lightly and carry their emotional equipment unhistrionically." —The Hudson Review

"A poet of singular skill and subtle intelligence." —The Harvard Review

"Skloot's craft is nothing short of masterful." —North American Review

"Unforgettable poems that say more about human resilience and the relation between illness and creativity than many books of 'confessional' poetry in the first person." —The Hudson Review

"Skloot continues to be a highly disciplined poet, confronting chaos to capture and tame this enemy.  There is ferocity living in his forms, coexisting with the sweetness of vanquishing sentiment." —Prairie Schooner

"Poet, essayist, and memoirist Skloot writes about family matters, the mysterious realm of long-term illness, the natural world, and the nature of art in refulgent and compelling poems, finely constructed vignettes that celebrate life while harboring bracing visions of death." —Booklist

"The weightiness of the wounds explored in these poems does not weigh the reader down. It is as if the limitations, the fault lines, the wounds of life are offered up as an imperfectly-perfect sacrifice, rising up toward Mystery." —Image Magazine

"Skloot impresses with an ear attuned to the counterpoint of sentence rhythm, rhyme and meter, and with the true artist's commitment to making the most private and personal suffering revealable to others through a selfless attention to the vivid scene and dispassionate narrative." —Notre Dame Review