Judith Skillman

Judith Skillman is a poet, editor and translator. Her recent collection is Subterranean Address, New & Selected Poems, Deerbrook Editions 2023. Skillman is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, The King County Arts Commission, and the Washington State Arts Commission. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she has completed residencies at Centrum and Hedgebrook. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal, Threepenny Review, Zyzzyva,  and many other journals. An educator, editor, and translator, Judith lives with her husband in Kennydale, WA.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

“Judith Skillman’s devotion to both the nuances and deeper entailments that life and lineage present us is on show in Subterranean Address: New and Selected Poems 2014-2022.  Gathered from her seven most recent collections, with a winning group of new work, Skillman writes of her subjects with matchless clarity: aging (“To be a tenant of the body/ means one’s chores are never done”), infirmity, family, the natural world, the lives of artists (Kafka, Nabokov, Lucien Freud, et. al.), and history (immigrant destinies, the Shoah)—all with measured feeling, as if to imply a dignity in our imperfection. At her best—and here she is at her best—few poets I know can surpass her evocative powers.”
—David Rigsbee

All We Took

The rains begin to beat against the glass.
Summer flowers replaced by umber leaves.
All we took for granted in our ease.

A cycle, a circle—how else learn loss?
Plump cheeks, tanned legs, soft skin are but a sieve.
The rains begin to beat against the glass.

As metaphor the same four seasons pass.
Each childhood’s novel—what is there to grieve?
All we take for granted in our ease.

Monsoons come to loosen the rose, its green caress.
Branches held hostage—harsh winds moan through sleeves.
The rains begin to beat against the glass.

I feel my body turn back into moss.
A spell of blues deletes my will to live—
and all I took for granted in my ease.

It’s cold in the bedroom where I undress,
more difficult than ever to believe.
The rains begin to beat against the glass.
All’s taken for granted when at ease.

2010 Writers Program

2008 Writers Program

Sound Clips
  • Judith Skillman - Portrait II
    In This Case – Judith Skillman
  • Judith Skillman at JS 50
  • Judith Skillman
    Observing the Natural World – Judith Skillman