december Vol. 1.1 — 1958
The old gods are now unkempt
As pastured goats.
They bleat sick song when passing pendants
Twist their tales,
Sit sulking, dream of unbroken temples,
And fight listlessly among themselves.
But I have read of their one-time rage
And the lightning in their eyes:
They ate at great table,
Chased frighted falcons from the skies,
Made awed poets sing,
And laughed loud
With the women of a king.
Like an iron door
On doctored philosophy’s hysteric gods,
And left men quiet
Throughout his career, Edmund Skellings was a cutting edge poet and artist, combining poetry, visual art, sound, and computer technology in new and innovative ways. As Poet Laureate of Florida from 1980 until his death in 2012, he worked diligently to bring poetry and literacy to young people.
Skellings earned his BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his doctorate in English from the University of Iowa, where he taught prosody and metrics in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In 1963, he founded the Alaska Writer’s Workshop at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and also organized the Alaska Flying Poets, five professors from the Workshop who flew a small airplane around Alaska and the Midwest to talk to high school students about the value of learning to write well. In 1967, Skellings joined the faculty of Florida Atlantic University; in 1973 he became Director of Florida International University’s International Institute of Creative Communication, which brought poetry to more than 100,000 children in South Florida.
The Evans Library of the Florida Institute of Technology is currently digitizing Edmund Skellings innovative multimedia archives. To see more work by Skellings visit http://research.fit.edu/edmundskellings/