Clare County Library
Clare Literature
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | Maps | Literature | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

Knute Skinner

 

Knute Skinner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in nearby Webster Groves. He attended college at Culver-Stockton and at the University of Northern Colorado, where he received a BA in speech and drama. He then did graduate work at Middlebury College and at the University of Iowa, where he was also an instructor in the English Department.

After receiving a PhD in English, Skinner turned his back on job offers, left Iowa, and headed off to spend the rest of his life on the Canary Islands. Instead, after two years travelling around Europe, he purchased a cottage in rural Ireland. There, when not writing poems, he worked in a turf bog and grew vegetables for the local market. He also began teaching part of each year at Western Washington University in the US. In 2000 he retired from teaching and now, along with his spouse, Edna Faye Kiel, is resident year round in Killaspuglonane, County Clare. He occasionally conducts poetry writing workshops, and he is currently at work on a new collection of poems.
His first book of poetry, Stranger with a Watch, appeared in 1965 and contained early poems written in Iowa. His second collection, A Close Sky over Killaspuglonane (1968), showed the influence of the people and the landscape of rural Clare. Since then, he has published seven more books and six chapbooks. His poems, which have appeared widely in serial publications in Ireland, England, Australia and North America, show a variety of styles, including both free and formal verse. Two collections, The Bears and What Trudy Knows, demonstrate a marked departure from his usual lyric mode, as the poems are all fictional narratives highlighting brief moments in the lives of the imagined narrators. In 2002 Salmon Publishing brought out his most recent collection, Stretches.

Skinner founded the Signpost Press, a nonprofit corporation devoted to publishing contemporary literature, and he was a founder and editor of the Bellingham Review. He was awarded a fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and has received residencies from the Huntington Hartford Foundation, The Millay Colony for the Arts, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and Fundación Valparaíso. He has taught numerous poetry writing workshops in the United States and in Ireland.


Knute Skinner: Selected Poems