'Invisible Sun' (Smokestack, 2021)
Following Viktor Shklovsky’s instruction to make everyday objects seem unfamiliar, Richard Skinner’s fourth collection sets out to release ‘the potential of inanimate objects’. A marbled egg, white balloons, unopened boxes, a Greek island, numbers, a yellow yo-yo—nothing in this book is quite what it seems. Unsettling, precise and enigmatic, Invisible Sun confirms Skinner’s reputation as a poet of playful misplacement and misdirection. It is a book about windows, light, clouds, the ‘upside down world’ glimpsed through shadows and mists, and always the invisible sun—bright source of all life but also our daily measure of time and loss—illuminating ‘the distant glitter of other people’s lives’.
'As with Skinner's other collections, turning these pages is an adventure. He displays the ability to push to the parameters of the recognisable, to make emotional depth out of the fragmented. Breathtaking.' Roy Marshall
'These poems are heartbreaking and eerie and beautiful.' Dan O'Brien
'Absolutely meticulous in their craft and powerfully moving in their effect. Wow.' Lisa Kelly
‘A slim book of emotional depth and breadth - capacious, precise poems that glitter and open inwardly leading the reader into new territories. I frequently had to stop, look up and process what I had just read, returning to many poems several times to begin to appreciate their complexities and depths. This work demands your presence, and repays it. The poems are beautifully made - pared back and assured lines create a variety of forms that all somehow hold a tensile assurance in their structure. My personal favourite was the exquisite “Zuihitsu” sequence which is, like the best poetry, transportive, meditative and fresh. Skinner takes the reader, gently but confidently, into spaces of the personal (yet universal) thinking and feeling mind, a nebulous yet precisely drawn space where the mind is a living, turning entity 'building images as clouds' as it works across the distances of grief. This is moving, powerful, intelligently felt poetry. Read it and emerge slightly richer, slightly changed.’ Sarah Westcott, author of Bloom.
‘Skinner’s luminous phrasing most in its element.’ Nichola Deane, author of Cuckoo (You can read the whole review here)
‘[Invisible Sun] traces a circle that investigates different possibilities for aesthetic perception and experiences in a poetic world of art that is elusive and fascinating in its ever-shifting beauty.’ Carla Scarano, London Grip. (You can read the whole review here)
‘I love Invisible Sun’s thought-provoking yet vivid nature. The references to Skinner’s mother are moving and steer the poems and the words. Strong favourites for me are “White Balloons”, “Boxes” (which I read several times). “On painting a chrysanthemum” from “Zuihitsu” and from the same, “The narrow road to the deep interior”, “In praise of shadows” - so good, in fact “Zuihitsu” I-IV is beautifully meditative. “Ariadne” is another I read and reread, “Mists” and “Winterborne” - very moving. I love the quiet wisdom in so many. I love pantoums, so reading “Topoi of Epic” and “Organ of Corti” was lovely… the mystery, wisdom, that sense of the counter-intuitive being the right path.’ Maria Isakova-Bennett
'Deeply moving and formally perfect - and about the things that matter.' Bernard O'Donoghue
‘I love the path of invocation and absolution of this collection.’ Evalyn Lee
‘Invisible Sun is a work of careful beauty.’ Anna Saunders, author of Feverfew
You can read “Corridors & Wards” here
You can buy a copy of Invisible Sun direct from Smokestack here
Or from Amazon here