John Skoyles has published four books of poems, A Little Faith; Permanent Change; Definition of the Soul and The Situation. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Harvard Review, Slate, Yale Review and The Poetry Anthology, 1912 – 2002, among others. He is also the author of two books of nonfiction, Generous Strangers, a collection of personal essays, several of which were broadcast on public radio; and a memoir, Secret Frequencies: A New York Education. His awards include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as fellowships from the New York and North Carolina Arts Councils. In 2003, he became a member of the Order of the Occult Hand while reviewing books for the Associated Press. He has taught at Southern Methodist University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Warren Wilson College, where he directed the MFA program. He is currently Professor in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Department of Emerson College, and the poetry editor of Ploughshares. He is also a member of the Writing Committee of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His autobiographical novel, A Moveable Famine: A Life in Poetry, was published by The Permanent Press in 2014.   Two collections, Suddenly It’s Evening: Selected Poems, and Inside Job: New Poems are forthcoming from Carnegie-Mellon University Press.


Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Art: Johnny London: A Memoir. Vol. 17 No. 1 Winter 2016

Upcoming Events:

March 8, 2016, Tuesday.  Reading for Plume with Dzvinia Orlowsky, Afaa Michael Weaver and Marc Vincenz. 7 PM at Grolier’s Poetry Bookshop, 6 Plympton St, Cambridge, MA 02138


Ploughshares Blog: The Neutral Corner.

October 23, 2015: http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/discovering-milton-resnick/

May 1, 2015:  http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/the-neutral-corner-michael-hofmanns-where-have-you-been-and-gottfried-benns-impromptus/

July 3, 2015:  http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/the-neutral-corner-nicholas-fox-webers-the-bauhaus-group/

13 poems in the American Poetry Review.  January/February issue 2015. Cover photo by Shef Reynolds II.  Painting by Emilia Dubicki.


David Rigsbee’s essay on A Little Faith, Permanent Change, Definition of the Soul and The Situation is published in The Cortland Review: “And Then Something Like This Happens: On the Poetry of John Skoyles.”


WGBH-TV ‘s Greater Boston panelist Jabari Asim chooses A Moveable Famine as a “must-read book of the summer.”

LIBRARY JOURNAL lists A Moveable Famine in Top Indie Fiction: 30 Key Titles Beyond the Best-Sellers List for Spring/Summer 2014.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY gives A Moveable Famine a starred review and makes it Pick of the Week.

Recent Publications:

The List in Plume

How My Wine Turned to Water, an op-ed essay in The New York Times

Autobiography in The New Yorker

After Tanikawa; He’s Had It; and The Beech Forest in Hotel Amerika

Cyborg Shenanigans in Devouring the Green: Fear of a Human Planet, an anthology edited by Sam Witt.

Killer and Coal Bin in Plume

Music Appreciation  in B O D Y

A Stay at Yaddo in Five Points, reprinted in Poetry Daily



  1. Nice comment piece in the New York Times. Stay the course. It’s worth it in the end. Take care.

  2. Just read your piece in NYT and loved it. The greatest lie alcoholism tells us is that sobriety is an awful experience; I used to view sobriety like a stint in prison. But it turns out alcohol is the prison, and freedom is greater than we can possibly imagine.

    1. well said Clara….I watched the last half hour of Flight the other night….for the tenth time…and at the end when Denzel, in prison, having admitted his guilt claims to his fellow inmates that he feels free….despite his 5 year sentence….that really rings home for me, because I no longer carry around that ball and chain…at least for today…and I feel free as well

  3. In re: How My Wine Turned to Water: What a good friend you have in her! Good luck. One day at a time.

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