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Holy Cow! Press
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Welcome to my new home page. It begins with a focus on the new book The Boy Who Slept Under the Stars: A Memoir in Poetry, published by Holy Cow! Press, September, 2012.
This new book emerged from the journal writing I did after my brother, Lloyd H. Skelton, disappeared in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 2005. Even though many people searched for him, they never found his body. How does one mourn without a body? The poems and prose poems express and explore this question. While writing about his life and my own grief, I found myself writing about other missing people, and they became part of the book as well.
I'll keep here a list public readings and update it, so you can check back for readings later in the fall. I'm also including two poems from the book (see below), as well as excerpts from readers' comments.
To order the book, go to:
Holy Cow! Press (http://www.holycowpress.org/)
or ask your local independent bookstore to order it.
This website is new and other links are on their way.
"This a book about that place inside us all where bafflement meets mystery: a strange place, sometimes frightening and sometimes filled with stars and pines, clear flowing water and the deep joy of companionship." -- Jim Moore
Roseann Lloyd Readings
ArtStart Art Gallery
April 11, 2013
1459 St. Clair Avenue, St.
I'm also doings readings at colleges
and universities for individual classes.
as well as libraries.
Contact me if you'd like to add an event to this list!
Cold Up North
my skull a terrarium of regrets
It was in that little cabin Up North
in that first cold summer of sorrow
where I sat in the cushioned rocker
and wrapped that heavy shawl around me
like a tiny woman by a winter hearth,
an electric heater the size of a bread box
at my feet, that a wail finally came up
from my gut listening/not listening/
to Highway 61 Revisited over and
over until the wailing slowed to tears
and rocking, slowed to a vision of my
brother climbing up our roof to find
the chink in the chimney that the bats
crawled in and me yelling at him,
Get down before you break your neck
and then the memory of arguing over
who owned which Dylan records,
the ones that now gather mice
in someone else's basement.
No longer cold,
I stood up. Took a photo of the writing desk
where I had written no words all day.
Red journal, coffee cup, plate of pears.
Then I took a photo of a painting on the wall,
a lupine meadow, it was--fuchsias, pinks, indigo--
and then I took a photo of the woodcut of
two crows and Why? I wondered
when I could've stepped outside
for photos of real lupine and real crows
or I could've left the camera behind
and picked up lupine pods and a crow feather.
Maybe even found a whole silky wing. But no.
I turned back to the chair with its deep well
where nobody was sitting now, the shawl
still resting on the arms. Yes.
I took a picture of that empty chair.
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Messing Around in Boats
In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all...
Sometimes our mother read to us on the couch before bed, even though we were so many different ages. What I liked about the couch was leaning against Lloyd with my arm behind him, leaning into our mother to see the pictures closest up after the little kids started playing on the rug. My brother would beg for Wind in the Willows -- the ins and outs of river life, Mole, Ratty, Badger, and Mr. Toad, all simply messing around in boats. I imagined being Mole and having a cozy home under the roots by the water; my brother liked to see all the boats--punts, houseboats, the riverboat drawn by a horse and so forth--going every which way. He was waiting for the Mad Mr. Toad to leap into a vehicle of any sort and when he did, like when he got on the riverboat disguised as a washer woman, my brother exhaled with a half cry of glee. Since he didn't talk much, his cry of glee was all the more impressive. Another picture showed a red and brown caravan tipping precariously half way into the ditch, into which it did indeed fall, the horse somehow flying free.
We were worried Mr. Toad might get hurt in that tumble. After all these years the fears and worries and colors come back in an instant. The picture that leaps to my mind most often is the picture of Mad Mr. Toad slowly knotting sheets together in the bedroom of his castle, Toad Hall, where his friends have imprisoned him to keep him out of trouble--so many injuries and speeding tickets. At last he has a long rope of sheets all tied together. He is clever, Mr. Toad. He knots one end to the leg of a bedstead and flings the other end out the tall stone window. Then he must crab his way up the sheet to the window and out! rappelling down oh so many gigantic stories to the ground! Look, look, cries my brother, he's heading for the road, he's heading for the river, he's getting away!
-- Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows
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MORE READERS' COMMENTS
Roseann Lloyd has made The Boy Who Slept Under the Stars "not only for those who exit suddenly, but also for those who mourn them." This new book recreates the movement of healing: first unspeakable grief, revealed in tight prose, then interrogation, investigation, a pursuit of the missing on a personal, local, and global scale, and finally expansive understanding, the poet's heart not only doubled, but tripled in the powerful final poems such as "Have Drum Will Journey."
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As Roseann Lloyd lays out her story, we wish to take her hand and search for answers along with her. I found myself pouring over maps of both the wilderness and my own family, noting I.d paddled and hiked several of the nearby lakes, and ticking off my own stories of grief. As I read on, Roseann's poems were projected onto my own memories of portages, wildflowers, losses, and relationships. I alternated my empathy between Roseann and her brother. Like many, I'm familiar with the inevitable processing of sudden loss.
But as a solo wilderness traveler, I also routinely face the possibility of my dying in a remote place. It is a risk vs. reward agreement we quietly make with ourselves, one which, unfortunately, is much harder for those left behind to accept.
All of us who partake is such adventure, know the risk. It is not that we are reveling in the risks, in fact we go to great measure to mitigate them. But, we accept that our lives may end abruptly. If that should happen, I would hope those who love me would realize I have lived a life of extraordinary connections to the natural world, without which I would not have been whole. So, in reading Roseann's manuscript, I found myself wanting to tell her it's okay, that Lloyd lived a life he wanted, and likely died the way he would have wanted.
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The poems in The Boy Who Slept Under the Stars: A Memoir in Poetry take us on a sister's unflinching exploration into her grief, her family's grief, for a brother lost in the wilderness. Roseann Lloyd brings us with her into the deep waters of being a sister. She eloquently expresses the past she shared with her brother. His absence breathes upon the present and evokes other disappearances, children missing in Iraq, Jacob Wetterling abducted, climbers lost on Everest, a college student drowned, Lorca's family fighting over his body.
She writes... Even though I.ve said, for two years now, I don't need his body/to do my mourning, I'm suddenly desperate/ to touch your arms, muscled and tan as you were.( After April, Pine Lake 2006)
Another poem counts the summers to trace the past (First Summers and the Last).
The powerful prose poem, Messing Around in Boats, shows us her mother reading Wind in the Willows. Look, look, cries my brother, he's heading for the road, he's heading for the river, he's getting away!
They are visceral poems. Full of verbal energy and rich patterns of sound, Lloyd's lines are allowed to breathe and they move about in always interesting forms.
I have never been so moved by a book of poetry.
--Mary Kay Rummel
Roseann Skelton Lloyd Genealogy
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