Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Tim Skeen

KENTUCKY SWAMI



Kentucky Swami
Copyright © 2001
by Tim Skeen
BkMk Press

Tim Skeen's urgent, utterly original vision prevents these poems of memory from turning into nostalgia. He writes beautifully and lovingly of his Appalachian heritage with a toughness that does not shun kindness. Skeen's close examination of life's difficulties and its losses releases naturally to pleasure and its gifts. ... The voice of these poems is sometimes melancholy, but never bitter or self-pitying, and it finds the passage to a celebration of the details of an authentic life. These poems engage the reader with their humor, insight, and compassion. The reader moves easily from Skeen's family life to his experiences as an American Red Cross natural disaster volunteer. Other poems explore such themes as police work, communion with nature, and the practice of tai chi chuan. The poems take the reader from Northern factories to Midwestern plains to Kentucky hills. — from the jacket

The excellent poems in this collection set us down in a plac where scars are "precise and dependable ... holding the world together." In the tradition of James Wright, they speak of defeat, in a flat voice. They also tell the sometimes astounding stories of our grace and humor and dignity, and how we might be redeemed through an astringent love. — Michael Burns


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