Seasonal Adjustments

Seasonal Adjustments

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K.V. Skene


Author: K.V. Skene

Title: Seasonal Adjustments

ISBN: 978-1-989786-82-6 = 9781989786826 – Softcover

Trade Paperback: 88 pages – 6 X 9 

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95

Genre: Poetry, Canadian

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K.V. Skene’s Seasonal Adjustments is a beautifully written and moving elegy for the loss of love, that ultimately transforms into deeper insight into the human condition.

What makes the narrative so moving is that the emotional breakdown of a relationship is expressed through the universalizing imagery of natural elements. The seasons, water, rain, snow, apples, moons—all lift the poems to a higher plane. Rich in consonance, assonance, and alliteration, the writing is euphonious and open-ended, as Skene has not only a good ear but also that rare ability to enjamb sensitively to enrich meaning, not just copy fashion’s too-often clumsily handled device. She is also a master of the fresh, concise image; for example, after a snowstorm, “igloo-ed cars”; a peddler “with a backpack of promises”; “black ice quick-silvers / underfoot”; the old barmaid’s “bulldozer eyes”; “orgasmic catnip”; “the windowsills of your life”; “vagrant shadows”; “the day / folds into its envelope”; “throwaway tomorrows”. Skene captures so much, so quickly, in so little.

The book begins in spring, bittersweet with memories of happier days, while “overhead / a grey sky / and the certainty of rain” mirror “the war we wage on ourselves, / on each other —touching / but not being touched”, “the hiss of a marriage / deflating” under a “fish moon”.

Summer leads into a failed attempt at reconciliation during “those slippery summer days” demarcated by a “strawberry moon”, then a “hot moon”, a “buck moon”, a “sturgeon moon”, a “full moon”. In the end, “history tugs us apart / small scrambling animals / out of sight // out of mind and most of it / is illusion and / a fraud”, as love’s “apples rot”.

Autumn pleads, “Comfort Me with Apples”. However, a “bloody moon” turns October’s “orchard of memories” into “gathering windfalls”, followed by “The unknowable No / of November, the whiteness / that completely covers up”. More lunar images, the “hunter’s moon”, “frost moon”, and “beaver moon” punctuate attempts to reconfigure a single life “walking the dog”, in anticipation of the “born-again moon”. “Greyscale” is back.

Winter’s return brings resigned acceptance under a “cold moon” of “how life drifts to dust, divorce and / who gets the Bang & Olufsen, / who keeps Dog, who / cares”. By January, depression’s “one black hole too far and a howl” appears “although it makes no difference to the wolf moon”. February, with its “hunger moon” shows “We all have our own ways of surviving” as “we are learning to believe / in winter”. Gradually, the darkness lifts and “Everything becomes possible” when “we examine our lives in reverse”, and “it will be alright”, because “Each morning we are someone new.” But there remains a bitter pang, as looking back brings the conclusion, “Over a thousand miles from there / to here, a blizzard of memories, a drift / of regrets, a cold country / you’re still fool enough to believe / is beautiful.”

With “Now we’ve passed the end of our beginning”, the final pages of the book turn to the younger generation. Instead of moon imagery, the poet recalls “when you first criss-crossed / sun-scorched sidewalks” and contemplates “the sun- / burnt certainties of young love”. She envies youth for their innocence, who “open up their world / to the heart- / break in everything” and “give themselves away — so fearlessly”. But she also feels compassion for the inevitable mistakes and pain they too, in time, will suffer. Still, “everything becomes possible / if we keep it in mind / long enough. // How beautiful we could be…”/.

In short, K.V. Skene’s Seasonal Adjustments is a collection that transmutes private pain into a public and beautiful work of poetry well worth luxuriating in.

– Susan Ioannou


Review for Seasonal Adjustments


Both poignant and fearless, K.V. Skene’s poems gain power in tight lines which pay close attention to the seasons in an intricate and intimate lifespan. The experiences of infancy, childhood, motherhood, relationships and finally, old age are illustrated in multi-facetted verse, weathering geography, topography, extreme cold, heat, wind and rain in a complex world of love and hate. From suburbia to crowded city streets to wide open spaces, her wide-open-eyes-and-heart shine and cry for all our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. 

I.B. Iskov,

Poet and Founder of

The Ontario Poetry Society


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