In a country in which poetry has been largely private and apologetic, Robin Skelton played the part of poet with grand style: flowing beard, mane of white hair, rings on every finger, huge amulet around his neck, all topped off with a black hat that looked as if it came from a Venetian gondolier but was really picked up at the re-enactment of a Cariboo Gold Rush-era general store in Barkerville, B.C.
In this selection of his best verse there are poems of "high" and "low" art, spells and prayers, meditations, shemanic maps, and, in the centre of the book, "messages," those strange, inspired "gifts" at the core of Skelton’s art. In making the selection for this volume, editor Harold Rhenisch, himself an accomplished poet, has held to the image that Skelton’s themes repeat like the ripples of water spreading out from a pebble dropped into a pool, and has attempted to bring together the best ripple from each dropped pebble.
Robert Skelton (1925-1997) was a poet, editor, artist, anthologist, teacher, critic, and writer of more than 100 books. His poetry collection The Edge of Time,was nomited for Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He was the founding chairman of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Victoria.
Harold Rhenisch has published more than 20 books, including the non-fiction works Tom Thomson's Shack and The Wolves of Evelyn, both nominated for the B.C. Book Prize. He lives in British Columbia.