Winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist
Winner of the Oregon Book Awards Finalist
The End of Dreams is a celebration of the human capacity for adaptation amid the cycles of loss and renewal that characterize our intimate lives. Floyd Skloot mixes dramatic monologue with meditative and narrative verse in poems that explore family experiences, the lives of artists, historical crisis, love, nature, illness, and sudden, unpredictable change. The poet describes moments rich in complexity: when a grandfather's intentional loss at cards is really a victory of love; when Flannery O'Connor's waxing and waning illness becomes a merciful strengthening of her faith in death and resurrection; when dreams and reality merge for a man in his final seconds of life. Musical, sometimes funny, sometimes deeply poignant, twining nostalgia with a hard-earned acceptance of the present, these accessible, emotional poems probe the power of our transformative imagination.
Within her stillness she remembered
the first signs: that brilliant butterfly
rash on her face, a blink that lasted
for hours, the delicate embrace of sleep
veering as in a dream toward the grip
of death, hunger vanishing like hope.
Her body no longer knew her body as itself
but this too was a mercy. To leave herself behind and then return was instructive.
To wax and wane, to live beyond
the body and know what that was like,
a gift from God, a mixed blessing shrouded
in the common cloth of loss. Half her life
she practiced death and resurrection.
—from "O'Connor at Andalusia"
Floyd Skloot’s seven previous poetry collections include The End of Dreams, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, and The Snow’s Music. His work has won three Pushcart Prizes and the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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