Speaker for the May 4 meeting of Lost State Writers Guild will be award winning and well-known local poet, Rufus Skeens.
Rufus Skeens’ new poetry collection is Lost For Words. A former coal miner, now retired, Skeens’ poems are informed by his love of the hills and people of Appalachia. He draws from his own experiences when he writes so eloquently of the hardships of a miner's life, in one poem calling the trip down a mine shaft a 'willing burial,' which for far too many it was. He writes of the poverty, layoffs, injuries, lack of education for lack of opportunities as well as the destruction of the mountains.
Skeens love of poetry began young when he sat for hours on a rock in the back of his grandparents' garden, soaking in the life of the world and wildlife around him. He wrote his first poem while sitting on that rock. Later in high school he discovered poet Robert Frost, his first and continuing influence. The depth and imagery of Frost's The Road Less Traveled was the first true poem that struck him.
Fellow poet James Owens says, “Skeens has an acute ear for how the music of language surfaces even in the names of machinery, and long thought on the meaning of things that shifts the description of what might be an everyday experience into poetry. But in Skeens’ work, the poem is never a movement away from the ordinary. It is, rather, a deeper, more revealing penetration into the everyday reality.”
Billy (Bubba) Crawford, owner of Bubba's Book Swap, 331 E. Sullivan St., Kingsport, TN has been most supportive of local authors for several years. He displays books by local writers throughout his store. Email Billy Crawford, or call and thank him for all his help.