Jake Skeets

(1991 - Present)

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. A poet, educator, and essayist, he holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed Books, 2019), Skeets’ debut collection, was selected by Kathy Fagan as part of the 2018 National Poetry Series. The book won the 2020 Whiting Award, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and was named a “Favorite Book of 2019” by Lit Hub and a “Best Poetry Book of 2019” by Entropy Mag and Electric Literature. A stark exploration of queerness, masculinity, and violence, Eyes Bottle Dark sets images and stories of the realities of Diné life against the physical landscapes of the American West, illuminating what Skeets calls “the simultaneity of beauty and brutality” in both.

Skeets is a winner of the 2018 92Y Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest, an American Book Award, and a Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship. He edits Cloudthroat, an online publication of Native, First Nations, and Indigenous writing and art of the American Southwest, and organizes a poetry salon and reading series called Pollentongue, in which Native writers are invited to read at tribal lands and reservations. Skeets is also a founding member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective. He currently teaches English at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation.


Learn more about Jake Skeets

Text: Skeets's poem "The Body a Bottle" at Poetry Society of America, with commentary by the poet

Audio: An interview with Skeets at Tin House's podcast, Between the Covers

Text: Skeets discusses the writing of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers in Frontier Poetry's "How It's Made"


Photo: Bear Guerra