“Sometimes surreal, always evocative, Judith Skillman’s poems seem to well up from an inner hot spring. This collection is the latest in a lengthy and rich body of work. Not merely a keen observer, Skillman interprets for us the world around her, in a precise and emotional vocabulary, drawing from history—her own included—as well as the spheres of art and science to offer unique, often astonishing, associative connections.”
“As Skillman’s poems seek to understand rather than deny suffering, they rarely conclude in clear resolution; rather, they acknowledge that wounds live unhealed and questions exist unanswered...(the) poems traverse through changes that manifest from living a full life. Her metaphors suggest not shrinking from scars that result from these changes, but instead learning to embrace and accept the wound as an illuminating source.”
—Marcene Gandolfo, author of The Mom Egg
“Skillman mixes a sliver of pain, a kernel of tenderness, a twist of satire, perversity, and bitterness, creating from it all a potent sauce of raw truth.”
—Ann Wehrman, Pedestal Magazine
“Few poets seize the natural world in the tender, particular ways that poet Judith Skillman does…For a poet who sees this world as does Skillman, nature's beauty and cruelty is ours as well.”
—Chicago Sun-Times Book Review
In Premise of Light, Skillman blends Ekphrastic work with explorations of mortality. These poems can be seen as “doorziens,” a Dutch word translated as “to see through.” The term refers to a painting with a view from one room into another. Here light illuminates transitions from childhood to maturity to aging. Rooms include the natural world, the father-daughter relationship, and the body itself.