Douglas Reid Skinner South African poet

Work > Liminal

Liminal (2017)

Metatextual, meticulous and deeply steeped in sentiment, Liminal is an exquisite and at-times startling rumination on lives lived, loves loved and writings written. Skinner’s technical mastery of his style and craft, honed over the decades, only brightens the emotions that run through a mélange of travel poems, remembrances, experiments and treatises on the nature of being, literature and friendship.

Nick Mulgrew

The travel poem is by definition a poem about liminalities because it captures something between the familiar and the unknown; here versus there; experience and recording… The reflections on the process of writing are memorable…

Joan Hambidge

Dreams can also be experienced as liminal, as in ‘Smoke Signals’. But it’s the liminality of the present, squashed between the past and the future, which predominates in these beautifully crafted poems.

John Eppel

[The] poems that entertain me most are those whose narrative surface is underpinned by a distinct metapoetic argument, or layer.

Douglas Reid Skinner

  • Instructions for Writing a Poem

  • ‘Let me dream a small poem,’ he said to himself.
  • ‘Let me write one tonight in a dream while asleep.
  • I’ll need a dream pen and I’ll need dream pages,’
  • he said as he sat on the edge of his bed.
  • ‘If I’m lucky,’ he thought, ‘this time the dream poem
  • will arrive as a whole, written out and complete,
  • and then all that would still be needed of me
  • is copying it down onto a dream sheet.’
  • So, before he lay down, he decided he had better
  • write out instructions for the poem as a list.
  • ‘Then when I lie sleeping, lost to the world,
  • dream arm and dream hand will know how it fits.’
  • So he wrote down a list of the lines that he needed,
  • what words he would use and where they would go,
  • before lying on his side, curling up in the dark
  • as the day’s old concerns drained out of his head…
  • and the sheets were covered with falling black snow.