How I Write: Jeffery Skinner — Poet

This semester we are beginning a new series for our blog called “How I Write.” This series asks writers to respond to five questions that provide insight into their writing processes and offer advice to other writers. We’ll be featuring writers from the University of Louisville community, but also those from beyond the university who compose in a variety of personal and professional contexts. Through this series, we promote the idea that learning to write is an ongoing, life-long process and that all writers, from first-year students to career professionals, benefit from discussing and collaborating on their work with thoughtful and respectful readers. The series will be featured every other Wednesday.skinner

We begin our series with University of Louisville’s own Jeffery Skinner who describes himself on his website ( as a “poet. playwright. professor.” His most recent collection of poems Glaciology, which won the 2012 Crab Orchard Open Poetry Competition, was just published by Southern Illinois Press. You can hear Jeffery Skinner read with Kiki Petrosino on November 7th at 4:30 pm in the Chao Auditorium in UofL’s Ekstrom Library.

How I Write: Jeffery Skinner

Location: Anywhere fairly quiet

Current project: New book of poems

Currently reading: Mark Richard’s memoir, David Jones poems

  1.  What type(s) of writing do you regularly engage in?
    Poetry, and prose of various types: recommendation letters, essays, prose poems, memos, grant applications, etc.
  2. When/where/how do you write?
    During summers I bear down heavily; during teaching time I snatch whatever odd moment that becomes available.
  3. What are your writing necessities—tools, accessories, music, spaces?
    Pen and paper for poems; laptop for prose. I’m fond of parking myself in a coffee shop, and plugging into postclassical, techno, electronica (no human voices).
  4. What is your best tip for getting started and/or for revision?
    a. decide to write with your own voice b. lower your expectations c. don’t stop till you’ve written a predetermined amount (which doesn’t have to be “good”–just done)
  5. What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
    “Writing is easy: you just sit there until drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

Again, we want to thank Professor Skinner for his insightful responses and encourage our readers to attend his upcoming reading. On November 6th, we will post our next entry featuring University of Louisville Law professor Judith Fischer.

2 thoughts on “How I Write: Jeffery Skinner — Poet

  1. What a great feature! I like knowing that he still writes poems with pen & paper. I think it would also be great if you could feature just a little piece of the “How I Write” writer’s actual writing (along with their how-I-do it interview).

    Also maybe consider some “live” interviews in the future (with captioning, transcripts, etc)? See the “Writer’s Talk” channel that is produced by Ohio State University’s Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW)–which houses the Writing Center there–for a very impressive series like this:

  2. Hi Brenda,

    Thanks for your supportive response and the great tips. We are interested in doing some “live” interviews as we get the series more established. Let us know if you have any more ideas.

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