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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

Yes and No

A spiritual thread runs through these poems of loss.

Yes and No is a book about looking back and looking forward. Many of the poems deal with the loss of friends and relatives whose spirits remain in the poet’s life in memory and even apparition. As the title connotes, the collection is about affirmation and negation: there are love poems and poems of the devastating loss of love and poems of passion and the dwindling of it. A spiritual thread runs through the book as well, as seen in the opening poem, “Prayer at the Masked Ball,” and in the question asked in the title poem: “are we connected to the infinite, or not?”

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"The poems in Yes and No enact a lively dialogue between self-acceptance and self-rejection. They embrace the past without regret or nostalgia while enhancing the present with imaginative alternatives, many of which are exemplified by people dear to the poet who managed not to define themselves too narrowly, to find a space for wishes that experience failed to fulfill. The result is a poetry that both honestly confronts disappointment while remaining free enough from the needy ego to make room for play." 

Carl Dennis

"John Skoyles’s poems in Yes and No are lucid and rigorous; they are transparent and clearly and beautifully wrought; they are familiar and familial, welcoming and embracing; and they are at the same time, in the same breath, utterly mysterious and inviolable. Each of them is a gem of human intimacy and human awareness."

Vijay Seshadri

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