Catalog-Skillman, Judith

Video of Judith reading here.


Give in to your fatigue. It's good for you
to lie face down on the flowered bedspread
breathing in sharpened points of petals, or stars.

Give in and go deeply inward,
past the machines with their vibrato,
under a canopy of daylight and the ministering
hands of the big maple.

from Amnesia

"In every language there are certain words that do not translate. Skillman's luminous poems bridge the chasm between the spoken word with all that it cannot say, and the wordless language of music." Carolyn Willis, violinist. "This fine collection translates the music of chaos into the music of unwavering attention. Filled with historical insight and personal elegant, complex achievement." Linda Bierds

Cover art from an original Sumi painting by Priscilla Maynard.

ISBN 0-911287-19-1 (paper) $11.00
100 pages 6 x 9


I want to stitch grasses shut,
seam rushes
near the rookery.
His head's swathed
in the black hood
like a bird. He swears
at the machinery
of the family,
these constellations
that litter the sky.
In one a queen
lying on her side
seducing kings.

from Storm

Winner of Academy of American Poets
Eric Mathieu King Award

In Storm, ordinary life is examined relentlessly. There are no taboo subjects, characters, places, or personal histories. What is most vivid in the world of these poems is the manifestation of anger in all its guises.

The book opens with The Thunderheads, poems that examine family life with its taboos and the excesses of childhood. The second section, The Spoils, explores physical and psychological anomalies. Want takes the territory of desire. The last section, The Robin, is filled with personas who witness acts of violence and love.

These are pieces that transform depression, pain, and sadness. Storm takes a fresh look at fairy tales as a repository for some of our most deeply held cultural myths. The old myths of beauty and fantasy are taken apart and put back together, placed at the center of everyday life. In a cleansing reminiscent of primitive rituals, Storm proves that here on earth, nothing is sacred.

0-911287-26-4 paper $12.00


When the cricket sang
it held us in its grip
thanks to a burnt wing.
The casement window
with its wire fencing
where we lived above and half below ground
was only a child's dream

from House of My Father's Dying

In Sweetbrier , the elegy is given new treatment. Aspects of physics and nature come together to prefigure loss and define its role as essential to transformation. The world of poems in this small book is populated by summer landscapes that include crabapple, hawthorn, hyacinth, honeysuckle and cottonwood. The sordid is allowed into the picture as part of an exploration of the family tree. Blood relatives become patented images from the past. The death of the father figure, of history and ancestry, form a backdrop against which chronological time can be investigated. Sweetbrier is a discussion of boundary preservation in the presence of loss.

Handmade / Handsewn $15.00