Close Reading

Like browsing a friend’s bookshelf, this lucid foray into imagined encounters with artistic icons of the past is a gentle, kind and illuminating journey of special sensory moments. These poems embrace taking time, illuminating fleeting moments of interactions with artists and writers such as Cézanne, Paul Klee and Robert Frost.

Floyd Skloot’s poetry collection, Close Reading, received a very favourable review in the TLS (July 25, 2014, page 23) by John Greening. Here is a brief quote: 'Skloot’s instinctively formal style has loosened to reveal a poet of real distinction'.



Floyd Skloot’s poetry, memoirs, essays, and fiction have won three Pushcart Prizes, the PEN USA Literary Award, two Pacific Northwest Book Awards, and been finalists for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay, and the Paterson Prize in Poetry. In 2010, he was named by Poets & Writers Inc. as “one of fifty of the most inspiring authors in the world.” His work has appeared in The Best American Essays, Best American Science Writing, Best Spiritual Writing, and Best Food Writing. Skloot’s most recent books include the poetry collections The Snow’s Music and The End of Dreams (both from Louisiana State University Press, 2006 and 2008), and Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014). Skloot is the father of the bestselling writer Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife, Beverly Hallberg. As Poets & Writer magazine said: “Despite virus-induced brain damage, he writes with surprising tenderness and candor about recreating a life for himself and, in the process, makes us think about our own.”

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


"Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises."
– William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Magic lets me see her in the dim light
of a new moon. I remember that smile
lingering in the young woman's midnight
face, a child's trace of wonder at the wild
familiar twangling that is all she knows
of sea winds across the same stunted trees,
rocks, coves, caves. Now the island's voice grows
softer even as it rises, and sleep
is what it sings. I can see what she sees
in this still moment before time resumes,
hear what she hears, through our dreams' sorceries.
Again and again day's first light consumes
these riches, and at night I seize them back.
But in the island's noise I hear the beat
of my own heart at last. No more magic,
it says. Let her go. There is nothing to fear.

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