Keith Flynn

Keith Flynn ( is the award-winning author of seven books, including five collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), The Golden Ratio (Iris Press, 2007), Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013), and a collection of essays, entitled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (Writer’s Digest Books, 2007). His latest book is a collaboration with photographer Charter Weeks, entitled Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession. From 1984-1999, he was lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band, The Crystal Zoo, which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation, Nervous Splendor (2003). He is currently touring with a supporting combo, The Holy Men, whose album, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre, was released in 2011. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, The Cuirt Journal (Ireland), Five PointsPoetry East, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Margie, The Cimarron Review, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, a 2013 NC Literary Fellowship, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for NC. Flynn is founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994.

All Books

The Skin of Meaning

Keith Flynn

Publication Date: April 14, 2020

$18.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-848-9


The Skin of Meaning is award-winning poet Keith Flynn’s sixth and most wide-ranging collection, seeking to find the tangible analogs and visceral meanings hidden behind the daily bombardment of digital information and hoping to restore the mystery in our involvement with language. From the etymologies of pop culture, history, astronomy, and rock and roll, these poems fan out into a bold multiplicity of voices and techniques. Flynn’s work illustrates the meaning that is also created through tense collisions and is populated with figures in resistance to the status quo, a gathering as varied as Caravaggio, Nina Simone, Gaudi, Villon, Wonder Woman, and Manolete. The final section examines America’s fascination with violence and death, revealing that “a human being in love with mystery is never finished.” This collection constantly challenges our assumptions about the world we think we see and is teeming with evidence of another invisible world bristling like an underground river beneath our feet.


“For some time we’ve been waiting for a poet to appear who could adequately confront the vast and deliriously complex matter of the USA—its people, its art, its material and popular culture, its misdeeds and its election mistakes. Also, one who could respond to the artistic legacy of Europe. Keith Flynn is that poet. His range is wider than any poet’s I’m aware of, a range matched by his varied diction and his fluent mastery of syntax. The apparent ease he brings to this thorny project is one of the work’s most impressive aspects. I urge readers to greet this book with the praise it deserves.”—Alfred Corn, author of Unions

“Keith Flynn is a brilliant, bodacious poet at the top of his sonic, linguistic game in this new volume of poetry, The Skin of Meaning, with poems that dance off the page in arpeggios of flight, gripping the reader’s imagination and taking American poetry in a new, exhilarating direction.”—Quincy Troupe, author of the recent books, Ghost Voices, Seduction and the memoir, Miles and Me

“I opened Keith Flynn’s The Skin of Meaning at random and read “The Justice System,” a surrealist poem that spun my head around so much, I immediately put the book down until I could carve out enough time to give the entire collection the focus it deserves. Keith is a master craftsman. The Skin of Meaning is a master work.” —Lee Stockdale


Keith Flynn interviewed for Citizen Times!

Renowned Madison County author, poet and multihyphenate Keith Flynn recently published his latest book, the product of more than eight years worth of interviews.  Keith Flynn’s “Prosperity Gospel: The Portraits of the Great Recession,” co-authored by New Hampshire resident Charter Weeks, is the latest work released by the Madison County native Flynn, the founder and […]

THE SKIN OF MEANING by Keith Flynn featured on Third Mind Books

Pasadena, CA: Red Hen Press, 2020. First Edition. Softcover. “There are perfectly good explanations/ for the simultaneous risks we juggle./ There are shipyards of baubles/ and harbors that have dried up/ and martinis made up by Episcopalians/ that burnish them for the plagiarisms/ of the Holy Spirit. It’s only right/ that the room is furnished/ with importance and low light./ […]

Keith Flynn featured on Poetry at the Dalí

Join us on YouTube for this special streaming installment of our Poetry at The Dalí series. Poetry at The Dalí is an ongoing series hosted by St. Petersburg Poet Laureate, Helen Wallace. Occurring on the second Thursday of each month through May 2020, each evening will feature Wallace joined by selected poets. Following the presentation, there will be an […]

A Conversation with Keith Flynn, author of THE SKIN OF MEANING, on Medium

From the moment I read it, this line of poetry sat heavy on my mind, encapsulating, for me, the root of identity and the acknowledgement of its inescapability. It churned up personal queries about my own self and my own wrinkles. Yet before I had spoken with Keith Flynn, the author who catalyzed my introspection, […]

THE SKIN OF MEANING by Keith Flynn featured on the North Carolina Writers’ Network

“For some time we’ve been waiting for a poet to appear who could adequately confront the vast and deliriously complex matter of the USA—its people, its art, its material and popular culture, its misdeeds and its election mistakes. Also, one who could respond to the artistic legacy of Europe. Keith Flynn is that poet. His […]

Chapter 16: The Skin of Meaning excerpt

The Skin of Meaning He was late to the party and without directions,though his invitation was secure, and his instinctskeenly honed to an acceptable edge, and as we arewaiting to see if the fates will hear our ode to joy,we are given the sound of a man losing everything;this is the hissing of his agitation, […]


Keith Flynn’s THE SKIN OF MEANING reviewed in Pedestal Magazine!

Keith Flynn might be the love child of William Blake and Etta James. In his latest collection, The Skin of Meaning, he moves easily from whisper to croon to full-throated growl. As in his five earlier collections, he shows his skillful use of alliteration and brilliant mastery of the vowel register. Most of the poems are […]