Dream Horse Press
Judith Skillman's The Phoenix: New and Selected Poems: 2007 - 2013
Praise for The Phoenix: New and Selected Poems: 2007 - 2013
No detail is too quotidian to escape the dream catcher of this poet's imagination. Drawing on sources as various as Native American lore, Eastern European folktales, classical literature, Shakespearean tragedy, pop culture icons, childhood fantasies and dreams, along with her own considerable powers of invention, Skillman presents us with a psychological landscape as diverse as contemporary American experience. While the starting point of many of these poems is isolated, personal experiencea breast biopsy, a mislaid set of keysthe personal here becomes collective. This drive to mythologize experience becomes for poet Judith Skillman the allembracing, energetic, ongoing, many-storied project of a lifetime.
" Judith Skillmans dense, fragmentary images, her directness in speaking to the reader, and her interest in interweaving Greek mythology with everyday life put me in mind of the work of Sappho of Lesbos, one of the Western worlds most celebrated women poets."
" Few poets seize the natural world in the tender, particular ways that poet Judith Skillman does For a poet who sees this world as does Skillman, natures beauty and cruelty is ours as well."
Chicago Sun-Times Book Review
"Judith Skillmans ability to wring emotional value from mundane encounters in the concentration of an image, the brush stroke of a narrative, teaches me poetrys ever widening sweep and mystical scope, echoing dogma by simultaneously escaping it into the eternal realm of wild beauty." Michael Daley
About the Author: Judith Skillman was born in Syracuse, New York, of Canadian parents, and holds dual citizenship. She is an amateur violinist, the mother of three grown children, and the Grammy of twin girls. She holds a Masters in English Literature from the University of Maryland, and has taught at University of Phoenix, Richard Hugo House, City University, and Yellow Wood Academy.
The recipient of an award from the Academy of American Poets for her book Storm (Blue Begonia Press), Skillmans also been awarded a King County Arts Commission (KCAC) Publication Prize, Public Arts Grant, and Washington State Arts Commission Writers Fellowship. Two of her books were finalists for the Washington State Book Award (Red Town and Prisoner of the Swifts). Skillmans poems have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Seneca Review, and many other journals and anthologies.
Ms. Skillman has been a Writer in Residence at the Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington, and The Hedgebrook Foundation. At the Center for French Translation in Seneffe, Belgium, she translated French- Belgian poet Anne-Marie Derèse. A Jack Straw Writer in 2008 and 2013, Skillmans work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, the UK Kit Award, Best of the Web, and is included in Best Indie Verse of New England. For more information, visit www.judithskillman.com
From The Phoenix: New and Selected Poems: 2007 - 2013:
I like the swirl of
inlaid, in leaves falling early,
the compartments of sky and water,
the rooftops neatly hammered into place
beyond news of an infant whose heart
murmur indicates something larger.
I like the gauze screens covering dirty
glass panes, through which I see floaters
rising and falling like silver wires
in my eyes. The geode slices perched
in the window glitter like gemstones,
their opaque centers lit by noon-light.
There is a voice behind the voice,
a light behind the lighteven, perhaps,
some vitreous presence in the kiln
that sits on four legs like a lion,
inside the porch of memory.
There the temperature rises, and I remain
protected by the same thick walls
that protect me from bad news.
I like the sadness each harbor contains,
vessels bobbing with white triangles
cut from sailcloth. I think
I was outfitted in images, jewels
and clothes to catch something else
with my bowl, its nine colors
of enamel holding words, birds,
petals, snakes, ivy. Its suspicious
hearts wrought in blue and red, the lattice
edge finished with gold filigree.
Copyright © 2013 Judith Skillman