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The White Cypress
by Judith Skillman
First edition: June 2011
ISBN 978-0-9831041-2-4
$15.00 ~ Shipping $3.00
67 pages ~ 38 poems
Cover art: Cypress III, Drew Skillman
Order online at

In Judith Skillman's new collection, The White Cypress, vivid imagery combines with raw
emotion to investigate the seven deadly sins: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, vanity,
sorrow, pride, and discouragement. There is wiggle room within and across these categories.
The categories themselves have been revised by history.

Skillman organizes her quest for both the causes and effects of human sin under three headings:
"Lustful Appetite," "Irascibility," and "Intellect." In poems ranging from domestic to ekphrastic
to naturalistic, human nature is explored. The natural world plays a strong role. The pastoral
is woven into "Golden Pheasant," "The Goats and the Blackberries," "Washington Harbor," "The
Plow Horses
," and other work.

According to John Amen, editor of Pedestal Magazine, Skillman writes "narratives, portraiture and
commentaries infused with palpable images" Katherine Soniat comments: "Skillman's world is strangely
fluid, yet layered with complexities that compliment one moment and subtly contradict the next. The
White Cypress asks us to ponder the residual problems of naming (our) 'sins.'"

From the book:

The Skull
by Judith Skillman

You walked up Tabletop Mountain
And found a skull. A coyote, dog,
Or wolf—you are not sure.

Perhaps a deer. You run
Your finger along the teeth:
Yellowed ivories glowing,

Molars¹ compacted surfaces.
Not a single one missing—the animal
Died young. For the skeletal grin

You feel wistful, even as a man.
Is there a secret you missed
Along the way, a better kind of life

Lived among the ruins of nature
Rather than this entrapment
Where you fight your way through

Each urban day, return to the well-kept
House at night? You walked up Tabletop,
Looked far out where the shape-shifting

Begins again between brother
And sister mountains twisting
Sharp peaks southwest,

Blued by the moon raising its single horn
In the east. When you picked up
The skull it walked with you, breathed

Through eye sockets wide open
As with the sudden shocked surprise of—
You are not sure which—

Being dead or carried in your hand.

Many Trails to the Summit, Rose Alley Press, David Horowitz Publisher & Editor

*The White Cypress is available from Cervena Barva Press & The Lost Bookshelf.

Send check or money order payable to:
Cervena Barva Press
P.O. Box 440357,
W. Somerville, MA 02144-3222


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