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Glaciology

Jeffrey Skinner

Publication Year: 2013

“Once I walked a thin rail through a glacier” begins “Shattered Bio,” the first poem in Glaciology, Jeffrey Skinner’s latest collection of poetry. Filled with images that slide into one another in a dreamlike way, from the “squeak of pine trees in a forest” to “pinwheel, the baby’s hand,” the poem provides a precise way of seeing how layers of tenderness and danger melt into one another, inhabiting the same world.

At the center of the book, the eighteen-part title poem “Glaciology” takes readers to the core of misunderstandings as it juxtaposes the work of a glaciologist with fractured language, misread cues, and a literalness that defies conventional explanation. The lives of the glaciers are reported with a careful, scientific language that keeps readers emotionally at bay from the effects of their demise, and the speaker comments, “I consider language / mistreated these days, asked to explain itself / to justify at the same time it bears / meaning, to own up / to creation at the moment of use / only, and only that meaning.”

The third section of the book further explores the tensions of life and death in ways both whimsical—by focusing on a fly, a vintage clock, rabbits, and Poland, among other subjects—and deeply serious. In the long poem “Event Horizon,” Skinner takes readers into an accident and its aftermath, which brushes too close to death. By the end of the book, however, a new focus comes into view with the birth of a grandchild in “All Things Move toward Disorder Except the Newly Created.”

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The American Poetry Review: “Queue,” “The Wedding at Ram Island,” “Frame,” “Signs & Portents,” “All Things Move toward Disorder Except the Newly Created,” “Theodicy,” “Exit Row,” “Stutter,” “Give Me Poland,” “Prayer for Slate: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Self-Made”Some of these poems also appeared in Swerve, a chapbook from Pudding ...

Part I

Shattered Bio

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p. 3-3

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

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p. 5-5

Ode to a Photographer

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p. 6-6

The Wedding at Ram Island

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p. 8-8

The Children’s Table

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p. 9-9

Exit Row

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p. 10-10

Kafka, Women

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p. 11-11

Coffee

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p. 12-12

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de Kooning

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p. 13-13

...who could make of any place a Siberia, far—far enough. The doorsthe sexual gash at eye-level: Woman, Sag Harbor. I liked the canti-I thought once of learning, for Lisa. All is metaphor, yah, sure.in this country, without a ticket—hiding in the heat and metalsoot with the workers. Slow. Still feeding the enormous engines....

Terrors of the Night

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p. 14-14

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The Mission

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p. 15-15

Europe was in trouble again and I went over. I found her in a bar, lipstick charmingly askew, snags in her black stockings. I got a coke and joined her in the booth. Call me Jean, she said, and stuck out her hand. It was limp, thrilling. Listen, Jean, I said. I know we’ve had our differences, but I really. She put her hand on my thigh. And maybe I’m out of line here, but. She opened her legs ...

Self-Made

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p. 16-16

You Need a Subject for the Sun to Rise

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p. 17-17

Signs & Portents

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pp. 18-19

Theodicy

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pp. 20-21

Jonquillity

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p. 22-22

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Reunion

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p. 23-23

...passed around like a contagious glow. Same teasing of the strong,...

The End of Striving

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p. 24-24

The Barber

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pp. 25-26

Part II

Glaciology

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pp. 29-46

Part III

The Deal

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p. 49-49

The Fly

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p. 50-50

Icon

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p. 51-51

When We’re Done Writing about the Self

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p. 52-52

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Give Me Poland

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p. 53-53

In couplets, and walk among the rows in spring, tra la. Give me Poland,...

Corrections

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p. 54-54

Vintage Clock

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p. 55-55

Event Horizon

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pp. 56-63

Stutter

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p. 64-64

Votive

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p. 65-65

Prayer for My Daughters

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p. 66-66

All Things Move toward Disorder except the Newly Created

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p. 67-67

Throw It All Away

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p. 68-68

Further Reading, Back Cover

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pp. 69-71


E-ISBN-13: 9780809332748
E-ISBN-10: 0809332744
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809332731
Print-ISBN-10: 0809332736

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth