The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers with Jake Skeets

Date(s): Friday, October 4, 2019, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: 
Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, 1738 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Type(s): 
Reading
Genre and Form(s): Indigenous Studies, Poetry
Cost: Free

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About this Event

Join the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing for a poetry reading with Jake Skeets on first Friday, October 4, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore (1738 E McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85006),

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.

The Piper Writers Studio will also be presenting Energy and Poetry, a class with Jake Skeets, on Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Piper Writers House (450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287). To learn more about Jake Skeets' class, visit our website at https://piper.asu.edu/classes/jake-skeets/energy-and-poetry.

About the Book

Selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers is a debut collection of poems by a dazzling geologist of queer eros.

Drunktown, New Mexico, is a place where men “only touch when they fuck in a backseat.” Its landscape is scarred by violence: done to it, done on it, done for it. Under the cover of deepest night, sleeping men are run over by trucks. Navajo bodies are deserted in fields. Resources are extracted. Lines are crossed. Men communicate through beatings, and football, and sex. In this place, “the closest men become is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.”

But if Jake Skeets’s collection is an unflinching portrait of the actual west, it is also a fierce reclamation of a living place—full of beauty as well as brutality, whose shadows are equally capable of protecting encounters between boys learning to become, and to love, men. Its landscapes are ravaged, but they are also startlingly lush with cacti, yarrow, larkspur, sagebrush. And even their scars are made newly tender when mapped onto the lover’s body: A spine becomes a railroad. “Veins burst oil, elk black.” And “becoming a man / means knowing how to become charcoal.” Rooted in Navajo history and thought, these poems show what has been brewing in an often forgotten part of the American literary landscape, an important language, beautiful and bone dense.

Sculptural, ambitious, and defiantly vulnerable, the poems of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers are coal that remains coal, despite the forces that conspire for diamond, for electricity. (Milkweed Editions)

About the Author

Photograph of Jake Skeets

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water's Edge. He is Diné from the Navajo Nation. A graduate of the Low-Rez IAIA MFA program, he currently resides in the Navajo Nation and works at Diné College. He is one of the winners of the 2018 "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Prize. His debut poetry collection, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, was selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner for the 2018 National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from Milkweed in September 2019.

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