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Skin Divers

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
From the author of Fugitive Pieces, this work provides a collection of poems, meditations on how love changes in order to survive and how we move from obsolete science to new perceptions.
Published September 27th 1999 by McClelland & Stewart (first published September 23rd 1999)
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Mar 19, 2013 Flaneurette rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada, 2013, poetry
No writer touches my heart and makes my cells swing like Anne Michaels. As always she captures the essence of being human, being material and being (in) the world with tenderness, boundless beauty, powerful images, musicality and precision. The latter I find at times almost too much though. With words like sphagnum, keloids, cilia appearing on the same page I'm wondering whether she's become a tad too contrived. I wonder if the quest for precision impedes on the celebration of love, encapsulates ...more
Dec 19, 2016 Kirsty rated it it was amazing
Anne Michaels' Skin Divers is an absolutely phenomenal poetry collection, particularly so after I was a little disappointed by her novel Fugitive Pieces. Most of the stanzas here are achingly beautiful, and her writing is so intelligent and thought-provoking. Michaels' creation of imagery too is delightful and original: 'Starlight / soaks our shoes', and 'Frozen sparklers of Queen Anne's lace', for instance. I shall leave you with a few of my absolute favourite fragments from the collection.

Sep 27, 2016 Magdelanye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Exceptionally strong and well crafted poems of longing and belonging
Skin Divers A perfect example of a poetry book that was published more than 10 years ago yet has that timeless quality to it, making it relate-able to people who follow in the coming years. There's a lot of beautiful imagery in this collection and although there aren't as many poems, many of them are rather long, so the magic lasts double the time. It was easy to be drawn into the writing and the atmosphere Michaels created, and each poem evoked emotions from the reader. All the poems had a ligh ...more
Nov 22, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Three weeks longing, water burning
stone. Three weeks leopard blood
pacing under the loud insomnia of stars.
Three weeks voltaic. Weeks of winter
afternoons, darkness half descended.
Howling at distance, ocean
pulling between us, bending time.
Three weeks finding you in me in new places,
luminescent as a tetra in depths,
its neon trail.
Three weeks shipwrecked on this mad island;
twisting aurora of perfumes. Every boundary of body
electrified, every thought hunted down
by memory of touch. Three weeks of open
Erin Lyndal
Oct 02, 2016 Erin Lyndal rated it liked it
This is a lovely book with plenty of gorgeous imagery, and Michaels did a lot of research first, which I always love. However, I felt that despite the concrete images, she used too many abstractions in the poems, and the significance often got buried, as did things like to whom the "you" referred to. It also took me out of the poems that she would situate them in such imagistic scenarios and then go into a stanza or more that told rather than showed.
May 13, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The last book of published poems by Michaels that I have yet not read. It's a bit bittersweet, I don't want it to end and so i read about one poem from it a month.
Joel Cuthbert
Dec 14, 2016 Joel Cuthbert rated it it was amazing
The greatest poetry is poetry that literally slows you down. The richness of these words requires it. Each stanza like carefully gathered stones, each unique and full of hidden detail. But why try and describe poetry with poetry? All I can say is for some of us Anne Michaels is why we read poetry. I met her a few years ago and was doubly enriched by hearing her read. A great artist.
Isla McKetta
Sep 21, 2013 Isla McKetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a few immaculate books whose language is so rich that I can only read a few pages at a time before putting them aside to absorb them. They are not inaccessible books, usually the words themselves are very simple, but it's the combination of those words and the unexpected imagery and fresh perspective that blow my writing mind. This is one of those books.

I've wanted to read Michaels' poetry for so long and I loved seeing echoes and starts of Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault here. Bu
Theryn Fleming
Skin Divers is Anne Michaels's third volume of poetry. I read it all in one sitting. It's a slim volume, as they say—only 68 pages including the acknowledgments—so this was not a great feat. But... I always feel a little guilty reading a book so fast when I know how long it probably took to write it. I'll try to make up for speed with re-readings.

The most important thing for me about poetry is that it sound right. It should have rhythm. It should flow. Michaels's poetry sounds right. It's... de
Apr 10, 2015 metaphor rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, anne-michaels
Now we’re like planets, holding to each other
from a great distance.
[...] Now we’re hundreds of miles apart,
our short arms keep us lonely,
no one hears what’s in my head.
[...] It’s March, even the birds
don’t know what to do with themselves.
I want you to promise
we’ll see each other again,
you’ll send a letter.
Promise we’ll be lost together
in our forest, pale birches of our legs.

I hear your voice now—I know,
everyone knows promises come from fear.
People don’t live past each other,
you’re always h
Mar 10, 2012 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Some of the most beautiful poetry I've read. Her words flow off the page and paint beautiful images.
The skin is the only way to get to know each other. To dive and swim and keep breathing, paradoxically, when it seems we can't breath anymore.
May 13, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-poetry
Subtly crafted, stunning volume of poetry. Her poems are an intricate mélange of science, substance, and a note of poetry to set it off, a little like magic. One of the loveliest books I've read.
Sabine rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2014
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Maura Hall rated it it was amazing
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Jun 03, 2007
Patricia rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2012
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Feb 15, 2015
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From Canadian Poetry Online:

Anne Michaels was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1958. She is the author of one novel Fugitive Pieces, which explores the possibility of love and faith alter the Holocaust, with language marked by power, elegance, and integrity. Ms. Michaels, who has also composed musical scores for the theater, has said "when you put a tremendous amount of love into your work, as in any r
More about Anne Michaels...

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