Recommended by Rich Smith
In his last book, Ed Skoog's combined narrative and associative leaping techniques in a way that made you feel like you were having a long catch-up call with an old friend. The poems were raucous, wild, full of old college memories and hilarious one-liners. Imagine Girl Talk telling bar stories, but only if that idea excites you. In the sections I've read from his latest book-length poem, Travelers Leaving for the City, Skoog pushes the form farther while grounding the work in darker material—his grandfather’s murder in Pittsburgh in 1955. He uses that event as a departure point to explore departures in general, which take on a weird aspect in a world flattened by capital. But Skoog is never without his humor, nor the profundities his humor grants him. In these poems he conceives of a silkworm as a tailor, and a poem as "a painted bell / a portrait that rings." I'm less familiar with the work of Portland poet Susan Leslie Moore, who will read from her new book, That Place Where You Opened Your Hands, but any friend of Skoog's is a friend of Seattle's, and likely a good poet, too.