Saturday poetry pick: Close Reading

I love subtle rhymes, slant or full–the rhymes that don’t announce themselves, the poems that lead you through almost to the end before you discover you’ve been reading rhymes, and then you have the pleasure of going back, matching up those rhymes.

Floyd Skloot deftly uses rhyme this way, and I’ve long been a fan. His book Close Reading, from Eyewear Publishing,  offers many such finely crafted poems, and some that seem to slip in and out of rhyme, as well as those that don’t rhyme but have a resonance and pace as if they did rhyme.

Thematically, there’s a lot going on–poems about Cezanne, Paul Klee, Jules Verne, a heartbreaking poem about Pachelbel (“His children hear / him leave, but he feels this is good / practice for them all.”). Then poems about his brother and growing up. Poems exploring Skloot’s struggle with vertigo, and the poem ends with a villanelle, “Closing in July,” that begins

We planned to live here at least fifteen years
buying this house to grow old in,
which didn’t take as long as we thought.

For a sneak peek at Close Reading, see “Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait.”