Music Appreciation:
Poems by Floyd Skloot

Floyd Skloot

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"The work of a mature poet. Floyd Skloot commands not only individual pieces but orchestrates a larger composition as varied and as unified as any symphony."--Neal Bowers

"A fine collection, full of adroitly disposed formal variety, and modest about itself, its passion, its giving back. . . . Floyd Skloot's poems--about family, places, his illness (CFS)--are full of the details of everyday life: sourdough loaves, a lemonwood bow, cracked crab, winter steelhead, a CT-scan machine."--Dabney Stuart

"In Music Appreciation there are early poems, maturing to meet the usual growing demands. Later poems deepen quickly, to deal with an unusual darkness. Finally there is the record of a special ordeal, direct and without bitterness, dealing lightly with the intimate enemy. A notable book."--Thomas Kinsella

"These elegantly phrased poems score the song lines of Floyd Skloot's life's journey: the opening discords of a shattered family life--its sudden harmonies borrowed from the sounds of romantic melodies--and the poet's entry into the 'wild light' named love. In mid-passage, the virus of illness turns the search for key listenings still more inward as the poet seeks to orchestrate his chronically fatigued body, soul, and spirit to wholeness."--Charlene Breedlove

Music Appreciation, written over twenty years, is Floyd Skloot's first book of poetry. Where has he been?
Writing novels, for one thing, and perhaps that explains the beautiful structure of Music Appreciation. In poem after poem, Skloot moves effortlessly from a boy's to a man's search for meaning in a life that has contained angry parents and a debilitating disease as well as the joys of marriage and fatherhood. He seems to know instinctively which memory or observation will make a good poem, and he writes in language that is direct but dense with sensuous imagery and suffused with love.
Here, from "Twilight Time," is the boy's fantasy of his parents dancing:

My mother softly
sets the needle arm down
and turns to smile at him
through the static, spreading
her feathered boa like angels'
wings before flying
into my father's arms.

His easy chair has floated
away, the sea of carpet
has parted and oak dark
as the earth's heart holds
them.

The consonants flow, the vowels jostle and glide, the words themselves are dancing. For in addition to the qualities of toughness and vulnerability, Floyd Skloot has the gift essential to a true poet, the gift of perfect pitch.


Floyd Skloot is the author of two novels, Pilgrim's Harbor and Summer Blue, and of more than 250 poems, essays, and stories published in such magazines as Harper's, Poetry, Gettysburg Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has received the Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America, the Kansas Quarterly/Kansas Arts Commission Fiction Award, and the Greensboro Review poetry award. An essay of his is included in The Best American Essays of 1993. He lives in Amity, Oregon.

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