A Landscaped Garden for the Addict
by Judith Skillman
In A Landscaped Garden for the Addict award-winning poet Judith Skillman explores themes of addiction, chronic pain, and disability. The book is divided into five sections, each interlaced with existential dilemmas encompassing war, mortality, invalidism, and trauma. While the subject matter is dark, there is no pathos. Instead, points of light recur as images of Dutch rabbits, horses, robins, clover, ivy, and stars.
POETRY / General
ISBN: 978-1-951651-99-2 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released September 2021 / Copyright 2021
Judith Skillman is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. She holds a masters in English literature from the University of Maryland and is the author of twenty collections of poetry and a “how to”: Broken Lines—The Art & Craft of Poetry (Lummox Press). The recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and Artist Trust, Skillman’s work has appeared in LitMag, Poetry, Sewanee Review, The Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Zyzzyva, We Refugees, and other journals and anthologies. Ms. Skillman has been a Writer in Residence at the Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington, and the Hedgebrook Foundation on Whidbey Island. She is the editor, with Linera Lucas, of When Home Is Not Safe: Writings on Domestic Verbal, Emotional, and Physical Abuse, from Exposit Books, and teaches at Hugo House in Seattle. Also a visual artist, Ms. Skillman paints expressionist works in oil on canvas. She is interested in feelings engendered by the natural world. Her art has appeared in Pithead Chapel, Artemis, The Penn Review, and other journals.
“Skillman’s searing, lyrical poems drop us into a world of pain and chronic illness with daggerlike precision of observation. Here are (prescription)-drug visions: a ‘moon sprouted like an eye / in the back yard—sinister.’ Here is a violin that ‘begins to belong to a case.’ Here is age and aching—‘Before bed you become old’—redeemed by the poet’s skilled hand and sure eye that ‘saw desire rising in the hardy fuchsia, / its red bells and crimson half moons / . . . making morning seem like evening.’ This is dense, visionary, dark poetics, a world we want to inhabit for its pricks of insight and flashes of dark beauty.”
“Immersed in metaphorical gardens, Skillman’s poems offer landscapes like Hansel and Gretel’s maleficent woods or Alice’s dislocating hole or backyards like our own. But it’s Gulliver’s lands that echo softly or loudly in poems that detail both threatening and active wounding. For readers, the rewards are a deepening of empathy, insight into spiritual and physical pain, and perhaps self-recognition.”
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