Ken Skoby’s wide-ranging poetry collection, I Still Have Nothing to Say…so I Write, mixes depictions of the speaker’s inner and outer worlds, as well as offering readers general advice.
The collection is arranged into six sections: “Poems,” “Found Poems,” “Interactive Poem,” “Haikus,” “Thoughts,” and “Just For Fun,” which includes advice and a personal essay. Two sections end with blank pages labeled “Create,” presumably for readers’ own work. Most of the poetry rhymes, with differing patterns.
The collection is dense and eclectic, its ethos generally warm-spirited and nostalgic. For example, “Slip Away” begins: “Somewhere, somehow it slipped away,/ rolling like thunder, in a floating ballet./ Harvesting fragments, yearning to stay,/ memory mountains, stand in your way.”
While many readers will relate to the speaker’s oft-expressed wistfulness in the face of time sliding by, the writing throughout tends to rely on “telling” versus “showing,” such as this haiku: “Divisions must stop/ realize together now/ love is meant for all.” The work also leans on clichéd images. For example, “Growth” relies on the well-worn image of the butterfly to convey its inspirational message: “A lonely life on a single leaf,/ wrapped inside a silky sheath./ A transformation very soon,/ breaking free of its cocoon.”
Skoby tells readers in general terms what he has learned and appreciates in life, but he eschews specific, memorable sensory details or experiences—except in the personal essay “The Thrill of a Lifetime,” about bobsledding. This is a rollicking, brief tale narrated in first person with engaging pace and details: “We hit Shady at about ninety miles an hour. G force should have been called brute force. The joke was on me. There I was with my head not only between my knees but, [sic] I was kissing the sled.”
I Still Have Nothing to Say… offers some rewards but requires revision overall to attract serious poetry readers. As is, it will appeal to the author’s friends and family and readers of light/sentimental verse.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.