Monday, August 24, 2009

Mister Skylight

The time has come to shamelessly flog the latest new book from a Ward Six contributor, Ed Skoog's wonderful collection Mister Skylight. I've been reading various drafts of these poems for years now, and have had the pleasure of watching this collection gradually evolve into one of the most assured, extraordinary debuts I've ever seen. Ed is just a great writer, and this is a great book. From Copper Canyon, Ed's publisher:

The phrase Mister Skylight is an emergency signal to alert a ship's crew, but not its passengers, of an emergency. This debut collection is alert to disasters--the flooding of New Orleans and the wildfires of California--and also to the hope of rescue. Interior dramas of the self are played out in a clash of poetic traditions, exuberant imagery, and wild metaphor.

Here's a sample, selected almost at random, since it reminds me of eating lunch with Ed, which is probably the #1 most frequent and pleasurable thing I've done with Ed over the past fifteen years. It's from "Recent Changes at Canter's Deli."

The telephone is no longer upstairs.
Cut fruit in cold cup will never be whole.
Nothing is where it was. The plate
is beside the bowl. My mind's all fucked up,
distorted, pale light reflected on stainless steel
of the walk-in cooler. It is not where it was.
Here's the spike to build a body of receipt.
Sweat collects on the waterpitcher lip
like the goodbye of a woman I loved.
The clerk bends his body to pray the miracle
of the handwashing station, turns knife to loaf.
The present pours into the pepper shaker.

Echt Skoog, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Buy this awesome piece of work.


rmellis said...

I have the t-shirt of the deli of that poem.

I don't know about you, but I'd be seriously freaked out if the intercom started talking about "Mr. Skylight" during a cruise.

It's a seriously great book, years of wonderful saved up.

Pete said...

I just found out that Ed's older brother Carl is an old work friend of mine from very early in my banking career, who I just reconnected with recently. I've always taken note of Ed's name when I've seen it here and there due to the familiarity of his last name, but little did I realize that it wasn't just a coincidence. Though I don't read very much poetry, I'll definitely keep an eye out for this one.

Anonymous said...

I believe they are the only Skoogs in America. Ed, is that right?

Art O.T. Grid said...

I am buying the book right now in another window

rmellis said...

You'll like it, Art -- Ed is really funny.

amy said...

I know this is a shallow comment, but the book cover is excellent.

Anonymous said...

Not shallow. I agree, it's very eye-catching.

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