The first collection in over a decade from a master of his craft, Skin reflects earnestly on the miraculous moments found in the daily experiences of human life.
Time and time again, Robert VanderMolen’s poems illuminate the cycles of human interaction alongside the slow-moving patterns of nature: “bark just separating / after nine thousand summers.” A speaker asks, “Is everything too old or too new?” and the resounding answer throughout Skin is that it’s a bit of both. Colorless birds, “a deep sweep of wind,” and arrowheads found in a dying red oak all point to fragmented moments that make up what it means to stitch one’s life together. “Attentiveness is my best friend,” a speaker remarks off-handedly, but this affair with observation is earnest and real.
Skin rewards the reader through a tacit understanding that everything in life is part of something larger that we can’t see: the endless “thoughts that slide / into notice” where “in the chill of privacy / one seeks promise.”