by Athena Kildegaard
Karen Skolfield calls winning the PEN NE award for her first book of poems, Frost in the Low Areas, “big news.” For a mother of two small children, a teacher, and the owner of one goat—in short, a very busy woman—writing a book of poetry is big enough, but garnering such an award is news of some magnitude. Skolfield grew up in Pennsylvania, joined the military, and received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she now teaches technical writing to budding engineers.
If there’s a guiding spirit behind Skolfield’s attentive book, it would be Elizabeth Bishop. First, because Skolfield is curious about the world around her, scooping up the news; second, because she is a poet of restraint; and finally, Bishop’s beloved poem “One Art,” like a bell just struck, reverberates through the book.
Richard Blanco, who readers will…
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