Floyd Skloot: "The Reading"



  —for Stanley Kunitz


The poet was old, the age I am now,

and he swayed like the ancient Jews

I prayed with as a child. What I knew

of his work was stiff with study, slow

to open itself. But this was all new,

clear, a psalm felt in his sinews.

I saw that he smiled as he moved

and was moved, the poem still true

for him in the moment he spoke

it. Something found like a stone

in a ditch, discovered out of the blue

as he walked the usual way home.



Floyd Skloot’s Selected Poems: 1970-2005 (Tupelo Press, 2008) won a 2009 Pacific NW Booksellers Association Book Award.  His sixth collection of new poems, The Snows Music, appeared from LSU Press in 2008, and a forthcoming collection is due from Tupelo Press in 2011.  He received the 2004 PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction for his memoir, In the Shadow of Memory (University of Nebraska Press, 2003). His recent memoir, The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writers Life, was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2008. Skloot has won three Pushcart Prizes, a PEN USA Literary Award, an Independent Publishers Book Award, and two Oregon Book Awards.