Floyd Skloot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Floyd Skloot
Born (1947-07-06) July 6, 1947 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York
Language English
Citizenship American
Alma mater Southern Illinois University
Franklin & Marshall College
Genres Essays, poetry, fiction, memoir
Notable works In the Shadow of Memory
Notable awards PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction 2004
Years active 1990 to present
Spouses Beverly Hallberg (1993-)
Children Rebecca Skloot
Matthew Coale (stepson)

Floyd Skloot (born 1947 in Brooklyn, New York)[1] is an American poet, novelist, and memoirist who has often written about the search for meaning through personal loss, about love and memory, and the struggle for coherence in a fragmented world. Some of his work concerns his experience with neurological damage caused by a virus contracted in 1988.

His book In the Shadow of Memory gained favorable critical notice, leading to more reviews of the following book, A World of Light, for the quality of his writing and for the new life he created after illness.[2][3] His poetry is published in general circulation and literary magazines.

Early life and family[edit]

Floyd Skloot was born July 6, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Harry and Lillian née Rosen.[4] Skloot received a B.A from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and an M.A. in English at Southern Illinois University, where he studied with the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella. In 2006, Franklin & Marshall College awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. After living in New York and places in the Midwest, Skloot moved to Portland, Oregon in 1984. He worked as a public policy analyst for 16 years. He first married in 1970 and is the father of nonfiction writer Rebecca Skloot. In 1988 he was disabled by neurological damage caused by a virus. In the years following this event, his first marriage ended. He is now married to Beverly Hallberg. Skloot and Hallberg live in Oregon.

Career as author[edit]

Skloot is the author of twenty books, including the memoirs In the Shadow of Memory, (2003) A World of Light, (2005), The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life (2008), and Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir (2014). His memoir, In the Shadow of Memory, gained high praise in a review by Julia Keller, who said "the glory of Skloot's prose is that, even when it is lush and seemingly digressive, it is ruggedly specific." Her only criticism was his reliance on experts other than himself, as his "insights are not available in textbooks or seminars. And they grace this powerful and anguished book, this elegy to a lost mind."[2]

The next memoir, A World of Light, was reviewed by Mark Essig, who noted that the series of essays covered Skloot's present life, visiting his mother who is altered by Altzheimer's Disease, and recollecting his own childhood events, demonstrates that "Skloot knows something of grace, but he has left failure far behind. He has painstakingly rebuilt his life and his art, shaping the experience of crippling illness into dazzling literature."[3] A subsequent memoir, Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir, comprising 14 essays previously published in literary journals, evoked praise from Suzanne Koven, who says that "His essays weave smoothly through pivotal episodes in his life as a son, father, reader, writer, husband, and patient."[5] Another reviewer, Claire Dederer, praises the last portion of the book which focuses directly on the physical experience of vertigo, saying it is "an elegant meditation on balance, aging, helplessness, dependency and, especially, love." She does not find that the metaphor of vertigo works well for the entire book.[6]

His recent poetry collections are The End of Dreams (2006), The Snow's Music (2008), and Approaching Winter (2015), all from Louisiana State University Pres; Close Reading (2014) from Eyewear Publishing in the UK; and Selected Poems: 1970-2005 from Tupelo Press (2008).

Skloot has contributed to publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, Southern Review, Boulevard, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Hopkins Review, Hudson Review, and Southwest Review. Reviews of his books have appeared in the Boston Globe,New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and Harvard Review. Skloot and his daughter co-edited The Best American Science Writing 2011 for HarperCollins/Ecco, published in September 2011. He published his first collection of short stories in 2011, Cream of Kohlrabi, from Tupelo Press.

His most recent novel, The Phantom of Thomas Hardy, was published in October 2016 by the University of Wisconsin Press. It is a literary romp through Dorsetshire and Hardy’s tangled love life with a gateway between real and imagined lives. Floyd, an American writer, and his wife, Beverly, are pondering the enigma of a fictional character living in a factual building when Floyd is approached by Hardy himself—despite his death in 1928. Jeanne Marie Laskas says that “Only the inventive Floyd Skloot could come up with—and gorgeously pull off—an experiment like The Phantom of Thomas Hardy. With the intensity of a fevered dream, he seeks his own self-integration after brain trauma while digging around, assembling, and imagining the history of the elusive Hardy. Blending memoir, reportage, literary analysis, and historical fiction (who does that?) Skloot dazzles with the depth of his research, and enchants with his signature vivid, precise, and thoroughly delicious prose.”[7] National Book Review was impressed by "how flawlessly he integrates researched material into his fiction and nonfiction." and commends his "enviable ability to combine biography and personal narrative" in the scheme of a mystery novel.[8] Kirkus Reviews was not as impressed, saying "A sporadically insightful, intermittently entertaining blend of memoir, literary history, and fabulist speculation."[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

He received The Emily Clark Balch Prize in Poetry in 2000 from Virginia Quarterly Review.

His work was included in The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, published in 2001.[10][11]

His awards include the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction in 2004 for In the Shadow of Memory.[12] In 2004,[citation needed] he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in residence at their Study Center in Bellagio, Italy.[13] In the Shadow of Memory was named the Best Nonfiction Book of 2003 by the Chicago Tribune.

In May 2006 he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College.[14]

His piece A Measure of Acceptance was included in The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction,[15]

He received three Pushcart Prizes in 2009 and two other years, the Independent Publishers Book Award in Creative Nonfiction,[when?] two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards in Poetry, and two Oregon Book Awards.[citation needed]

In January 2010, Skloot was listed as "one of fifty of the most inspiring authors in the world;" he was described by this sentence: "Despite virus-induced brain damage, he writes with surprising tenderness and candor about recreating a life for himself and, in the process, makes us think about our own."[16] Also in 2010, his article The Melody lingers on was included in The Best of The Best American Science Writing, a book whose entries were selected by the editors of the first ten books published in The Best American Science Writing series.[17]

He was honored with the McGinnis-Ritchie Award from Southwest Review in 2016 for his essay La Serenata[18] and in a prior year.[when?]

He has also been a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award in Nonfiction,[when?] the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay,[when?] and the Paterson Poetry Prize.[when?]

He received awards from Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and other publications.

His work has been included twice each in The Best American Essays,[when?] The Best American Science Writing,[when?] and The Best Spiritual Writing,[when?] and three times in The Best Food Writing[when?] annual anthologies.[citation needed]

Works by Floyd Skloot were included in The Art of the Essay.[citation needed]

Written works[edit]

Creative nonfiction[edit]

  • The Night-Side: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and The Illness Experience, Story Line Press, 1996.
  • In the Shadow of Memory, University of Nebraska Press, 2003. Reprinted in UNP's Bison Books paperback series in 2004.
  • The World of Light, University of Nebraska Press, 2005. Reprinted in UNP's Bison Books paperback series in 2011.
  • The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer's Life, University of Nebraska Press, 2008. Reprinted in UNP's Bison Books paperback series in 2011.
  • Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014.

Poetry collections[edit]

  • Music Appreciation, University Press of Florida, 1994.
  • The Fiddler's Trance, Bucknell University Press, 2001.
  • The Evening Light, Story Line Press, 2001.
  • Approximately Paradise, Tupelo Press, 2005.
  • The End of Dreams, Louisiana State University Press, 2006.
  • Selected Poems: 1970-2005, Tupelo Press, 2008.
  • The Snow's Music, Louisiana State University Press, 2008.
  • Close Reading, Eyewear Publishing, UK, 2014.
  • Approaching Winter, Louisiana State University Press, 2015.
  • Far West, Louisiana State University Press, tentatively scheduled for 2019


  • Pilgrim's Harbor, Story Line Press, 1992.
  • Summer Blue, Story Line Press, 1994.
  • The Open Door, Story Line Press, 1997.
  • Patient 002, Rager Media, 2007.
  • The Phantom of Thomas Hardy, University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.
Short stories
  • Cream of Kohlrabi, Tupelo Press, 2011.

As editor[edit]

  • The Best American Science Writing 2011, co-edited with Rebecca Skloot, HarperCollins/Ecco Press, September 2011


  1. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities". LCNAF CIP data - LC Control Number: nr 93015888. LOC. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Keller, Julia (25 May 2003). "Frames of mind: Writer and poet Floyd Skloot offers a powerful, candid memoir of devastating brain damage". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Essig, Mark (September 18, 2005). "Shards of memory cut through the haze". SFGate. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series: Skloot, Floyd 1947-". Encyclopedia.com. 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  5. ^ Koven, Suzanne (March 17, 2014). "Book Review: 'Revertigo: An Off-Kilter Memoir' by Floyd Skloot". Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  6. ^ Dederer, Claire (June 6, 2014). "As the World Turns". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  7. ^ Laskas, Jeanne Marie. "The Phantom of Thomas Hardy by Floyd Skloot". University of Wisconsin Press. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  8. ^ Sneed, Christine (November 22, 2016). "Q&A: Floyd Skloot Talks About Imagining the Life of Thomas Hardy". Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "THE PHANTOM OF THOMAS HARDY". Kirkus Reviews. August 1, 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Levin, Phillis, ed. (2001). The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. Penguin Books. p. 301. ISBN 978-0140589290. 
  11. ^ "Penguin Book of the Sonnet: Table of Contents" (PDF). GBV Common Library Network. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Past Winners and Honorees for Creative Nonfiction". PEN Center USA. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "The Bellagio Center Residency Program". The Rockefeller Foundation. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "Floyd Skloot at Franklin & Marshall College". Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  15. ^ Williford, Lex; Martone, Michael, eds. (2007). Touchstone anthology of contemporary creative nonfiction: work from 1970 to the present. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 473–483. ISBN 978-1416531746. 
  16. ^ "Fifty of the Most Inspiring Authors in the World". Poets & Writers (Special Section ed.). January 1, 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  17. ^ Groopman, Jerome E. (2010). Cohen, Jesse, ed. The Best of the Best of American Science Writing. New York: Ecco Press. ISBN 9780061875007. 
  18. ^ "The McGinnis-Ritchie Award for 2016". The Southwest Review. Southern Methodist University. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 

External links[edit]