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Mister Skylight Paperback – September 1, 2009
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. . . I wept at the President,
threatened to barefoot across the border,
but in the end only rolled down the window
to wave at a stranger who looked familiar.
This fine, fine book of poems does exactly what those last lines say, as each poem in one way or another rolls down the window to look out at our country at the beginning of the 21st century, at every person, place, and thing that passes, looking both completely familiar, but also new, fresh, strange, and (at times) deadly. Skoog in Mister Skylight weaves us through our often confusing, but beautiful, landscape, stopping here to tell a story about jackrabbits, here to wax lyric about a bar in Seattle, here to wonder at the small sounds in his own neighborhood that go on even as he's turning 30. It's this ability to complete immerse us in his (and our own) surroundings, while getting us to verbally shake our rumps through his music and rhythm that makes me think Skoog is the true descendent of poets like Richard Hugo and James Wright. Not that he's a mere imitator--he's far too original for that. But because he trusts that, even in a potentially crazy world, his imagination and music will steer him safely. This is a must buy for any lover of modern poetry, and, really, anyone living in the modern world.