Music Appreciation: Poems by Floyd Skloot

Overview

"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

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Overview

"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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813013145
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 9/20/1994
  • Series: Contemporary Poetry Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 119
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Floyd Skloot
Floyd Skloot
After an attack of viral-induced brain damage -- "overnight, I was geezered," he recalls -- author Floyd Skloot persevered in his writing. His account of the ordeal, In the Shadow of Memory, was selected as a Summer 2003 pick in our Discover Great New Writers program.

Good To Know

"I live in a small round house in the middle of 20 acres of forest on a hillside in remote western Oregon. My wife, Beverly, built the place before we were together. The silence, the isolation, the beauty all around me, the lack of edges to the space we live in, and the intimacy with which we live are all powerfully inspiring for my work."

"I'm a lifelong baseball fan, having grown up in Brooklyn when the Dodgers were still there, having played through my freshman year in college, having dreamed of covering center field for the Dodgers."

"I delight in reading baseball books and studying stats. I have a growing collection of old-time baseball caps and usually wear one when I write."

"My daughter, Rebecca Skloot, is also a writer. She's published her science writing widely, has been an editor and teacher, and is currently working on a nonfiction book under contract with Crown Books."

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    1. Hometown:
      Amity, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 6, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Franklin & Marshall College, 1969; M.A., Southern Illinois University, 1971
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Living Room 3
Chicken Market 4
Rhapsody in Calico (1925) 6
The Sunday Chef 8
The Price Is Right 9
Beat the Clock 10
Morning Shadows 12
Smoke 14
Ruby Foo's 15
Dinnertime 17
Twilight Time 18
The Everly Brothers 20
The Clues 21
Still Life Without Father 22
Widow's Morning 23
Swimmer 26
The Album 28
The Fury 29
Wild Light 35
Mother and Child 37
Giftsong 39
Hazards 41
My Daughter Considers Her Body 42
A Working Marriage 43
Kaleidoscope 45
Old Stories 50
September Fruit 52
The Stagger 53
The Bow 54
In the Coast Range 56
Surprise Valley 57
You Asked for It 59
Sapphire Fandango 60
Brain Scan 65
Diagnostic Imaging 66
Music Appreciation 67
Solstice 68
Sonatina for Surf and Sandpiper 69
A Softer Place 70
The View 71
The Virus 73
Home Remedies 75
Saying What Needs To Be Said 81
Background Work 85
Shoreline Life 87
The Resort 89
New England Nights 91
Paganini and the Powers of Darkness 93
The Velvet Gentleman 95
Blanche Morton 96
Melodies 98
The Mill 100
Voices of the Sea 101
Search 103
The Pure Tongue 104
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