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Floyd Skloot

Floyd Skloot’s books include six poetry collections, including Selected Poems (Tupelo, April 2008), and the memoir In the Shadow of Memory (Nebraska, 2003), winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Independent Publishers Book Award. The sequel, A World of Light (Nebraska, 2005), was a New York Times Book Review Editors Choice selection.


When the Clock Stops

The first person I knew who had actually written a book was Robert Russell. His memoir, To Catch an Angel: Adventures in the World I Cannot See, was published in 1962 and was selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club, included in the Reader’s Digest [...]

Turning to Memoir

Summer 2006 | Criticism

Memoir, in a way that sounds melodramatic but is true, saved me as a writer by allowing me to give voice to my experience. Also by demanding that I read and research in the areas of neurology, cognitive science, virology, and philosophy of mind, so I could begin to grasp the facts of my case more fully, so I could discover—and make sense of—what happened to me. And by forcing me to put shards of memory back together, to create some sort of window into my past, so that I could see who I was and connect him with who I had become.


December Dawn

I know this fog is here because last night was clear and cold. It has nothing to do with runaway virus, the swollen white matter of my brain, or another new year of illness—my fourth—leading nowhere I wish to go. Walking the riverbank, passing an [...]

Delius & Fenby

  "To be a genius, as this man plainly was, and have   something beautiful in you and not be able to rid yourself   of it because you could no longer see your score paper and   no longer hold your pen—well, the thought was unbearable!"    [...]


Thirty thousand feet above the Badlands my mother looks out her window and says "There's a car beside us." She understands for a moment that we are flying, prays aloud for the pilot to find his way through all this dark. Then she asks why the chairs [...]

The Dance

My wife is fiddling "Turkey in the Straw" in softening summer light. As her feet begin to shuffle of their own accord, the air around her softens and the beat takes hold. Music fills the round room she's in. It circles her figure, then spirals down t [...]

The Role of A Lifetime

"I am bound upon a wheel of fire" —King Lear He could not imagine himself as Lear. He could do age. He could rage on a heath. Wounded pride, a man gone wild: he could be clear on those, stalking the stage, ranting beneath a moon tinged red. Let wo [...]

Salmon River Estuary

Drifting close to shore, we enter the shadow of Cascade Head. Our kayak jitters in an eddy as we dip and lift the double-bladed paddles to keep ourselves steady. Lit by morning sun, current and rising tide collide before our eyes in swirls of foam w [...]

Counteracting the Powers of Darkness

"For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin & glaring eyes." —Christopher Smart, from My Cat Jeoffry Whenever my mother spoke of me as an infant, her story began the same way: he was born with impetigo. She said this [...]

The Tsar At Dawn

The sound that wakes me is a doe leading    her two fawns through the mantle of oak and maple leaves shrouding my yard.     I turn to see her freeze, then flee through a crease of dripping fir    with her young leaping after— and into a s [...]

A Change of Weather

Tonight I hear the rising autumn wind and whirling leaves. I hear the heavy rain arrive as if released from deep within the wind like rage, or a sudden insane blossoming of pain, the kind that woke me in time to hear this headlong rush of rain. Some [...]

The Wings of the Wind

He came swiftly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering around him. Psalm 18 My son Isaac, adopted at 12 weeks of age, turned 20 on September 15. That day, he measured exactly seven feet five and three quarter inches tall. [...]

Replacement Players

I thought, why not? I wasn't doing anything else at the time. It was only a four hour drive up to Seattle, where the Mariners were holding their tryout camp at the Kingdome, and we'd just put new tires on the car. Didn't look like the players and ow [...]