Skelton standing colour

Robin Skelton (1925-1977). Photo by Dorothy Stott. Courtesy Malahat Review.

Robin Skelton (12 October 1925 - 22 August 1997) was a Canadian poet, academic, and anthologist born in England. He invented the viator poetry form.


Skelton was born in Easington, Yorkshire

He was educated at the University of Leeds and Cambridge University.

From 1944 to 1947, he served with the Royal Air Force in India. He later taught at Manchester University.

In 1963, he emigrated to Canada, and began teaching at the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia.

He taught at UVic for almost 30 years, initially in the department of English and then in the department of creative writing, of which he was the founding chairman in 1973.[1]

Skelton was a translator, and an authority on Irish literature. He is well known for his work as a literary editor.

In 1967, with John Peter, he founded the Malahat Review, which he edited until 1982.[1]

Known as a practicing Wiccan, Skelton also published a number of books on the subject of the occult and other neopagan religions.

"Georges Zuk," a purported French surrealist poet, was a heteronym created by Skelton.



  • Patmos, and other poems. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955.
  • Third Day Lucky: Poems. London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1958.
  • Begging the Dialect: Poems and ballads. London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1960.
  • Two Ballads of the Muse. Cambridge, UK: Rampant Lions Press, 1960.
  • The Dark Window: Poems. London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1962.
  • A Valedictory Poem: Upon his departure from Manchester, England, for the new world. Victoria, BC: Morriss Print, 1963.
  • An Irish Gathering. Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1964.
  • A Ballad of Billy Barker. Victoria, BC: Morriss Print, 1965.
  • Inscriptions (with drawings by Herbert Siebner). Victoria, BC: Morriss, 1967.
  • Because of This, and other poems. Manchester, UK: Manchester Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1968.
  • The Hold of Our Hands: Eight letters to Sylvia. Victoria, BC: Morriss Print, 1968.
  • Selected Poems, 1947-1967. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1968.
  • An Irish Album. Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1969.
  • Answers. London: Enitharmon Press, 1969.
  • The Hunting Dark. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1971.
  • Private Speech: Messages, 1962-1970: Poems. Surrey, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1971.
  • A Different Mountain: Messages, 1962-1970: Poems and photo-collages. Santa Cruz, CA: Kayak Books, 1971.
  • Remembering Synge: A poem in homage for the centenary of his birth, 16 April 1971. Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1971.
  • Musebook. Victoria, BC: Pharos Press, 1972.
  • Three For Herself. Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK: Sceptre Press, 1972.
  • Country Songs. Rushden, Northamptonshire, UK: Sceptre Press, 1973.
  • Timelight: Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1974; London: Heinemann, 1974.
  • The Limners. Victoria, BC: Pharos Press, 1975.
  • Callsigns. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1976.
  • Because of Love. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977.
  • Three Poems. Knotting, UK: Sceptre Press, 1977.
  • Landmarks. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press / Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1979.
  • They Call It the Cariboo. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1980.
  • Limits. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1981.
  • The Collected Shorter Poems, 1947-1977. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1981
    • also published as Wrestling the Angel: Collected shorter poems, 1947-1977. Vancouver: Beach Holme, 1994.
  • The Paper Cage. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 1982.
  • De Nihilo. Toronto: Aloysius Press, 1982.
  • Wordsong: Twelve Ballads. Victoria, BC: Sono Niss Press, 1983.
  • The Collected Longer Poems, 1947-1977. Victoria, BC: Sono Niss Press, 1985.
  • Distances. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1985.
  • Fires Of the Kindred. Victoria, BC: Porcepic, 1987.
  • Telling the Tale. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1987.
  • Openings. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1988.
  • Celtic Contraries. Syracuse, NY: University of Syracuse Press, 1989.
  • Popping Fuchsias: Poems, 1987-1992. Vancouver: Cacanadadada Press, 1992.
  • A Formal Music: Poems in classical metres. Hawthorne Society / Reference West, 1993.
  • Islands: Poems in the traditional forms and metres of Japan. Victoria, BC: Ekstatis Editions, 1993.
  • I Am Me: Rhymes For small. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1994.
  • A Way of Walking : Poems in the traditional forms and metres of Japan. Victoria, BC: Ekstasis Editions, 1994.
  • Samhain, and other poems in Irish metres of the eighth to the sixteenth centuries. Dublin: Salmon, 1994.
  • The Edge Of Time: Poems And translations. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 1995.
  • Three for Nick. Victoria, BC: Pharos Press, 1995.
  • One Leaf Shaking: Collected Later Poems, 1977-1990. Victoria, BC: Beach Holme, 1996.
  • A Further Spring: Love Poems. Victoria, BC: Pharos Press, 1996.
  • Lens of Crystal: Poems. Llandogo, Wales, UK: Old Stile Press, 1996.
  • Long, Long Ago. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 1996.
  • Or So I Say: Contentions and confessions: A happenstance book. Victoria, BC: Ekstatsis Editions, 1998.
  • In This Poem I Am: Selected poetry. Toronto & Tonawanda, NY: Dundurn (Voyageur Classics), 2007.
as "Georges Zuk"
  • Georges Zuk: Selected Verse. San Francisco: Kayak Books, 1969.
  • The Underwear of the Unicorn. Nanaimo, BC: Oolichan Books, 1975.
  • Zuk. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1982.


  • Fires of the Kindred. Victoria, BC: Porcepic Books, 1987.

Short fictionEdit

  • The Man Who Sang In His Sleep. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1984.
  • The Parrot Who Could, and other stories. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1987.
  • Hanky-Panky and Other Stories. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1990.
  • Higgledy Piggledy. Vancouver: Pulp Press, 1992.


  • John Ruskin: The final years: A survey of the Ruskin correspondence in the John Rylands Library. Manchester, UK: John Rylands Library / Manchester University Press, 1955.
  • The Poetic Pattern. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956; Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1956.
  • Cavalier Poets. London: British Council / Longmans Green, 1960.
  • Poetry. London: English Universities Press, 1963; London: Teach Yourself Books, 1969.
  • The Practice of Poetry. London: Heinemann, 1971; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1972.
  • J.M. Synge and His World. London: Thames & Hudson, 1971; New York: Viking, 1971.
  • J.M. Synge. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1972.
  • The Poet's Calling. London: Heinemann / New York: Barnes & Noble, 1975.
  • Spellcraft: A Manual of Verbal Magic. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1978; London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.
  • Poetic Truth. London: Heinemann / New York: Barnes & Noble, 1978.
  • Talismanic Magic. York Beach, ME. S. Weiser, 1985
  • published in Canada as Magical Practice of Talismans. Victoria, BC: Beach Holme, 1991.
  • The Practice of Witchcraft Today: An introduction to beliefs and rituals of the old religion. London: Robert Hale, 1988; New York: Carol, 1995.
  • The Memoirs of A Literary Blockhead. Toronto: Macmillan, 1988.
  • Portrait of My Father. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1989.
  • A Gathering of Ghosts (with Jean Kozocari). Saskatoon, SK: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1989
    • published in UK as A Witches' Book of Ghosts and Exorcism. London: Robert Hale, 1990.
  • Earth Air, Fire, Water : Pre-Christian and pagan elements in British songs, rhymes and ballads (with Margaret Blackwood). London: Arkana, 1990.
  • Practice of Witchcraft Today: An Introduction To Beliefs and Rituals (1990)
  • The Record of A Logophile. Victoria, BC: Reference West, 1990.
  • A Devious Dictionary. Vancouver: Cacanadadada Press, 1991.


  • Two Hundred Poems from the Greek Anthology. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1971.
  • Gyorgy Faludy, Selected Poems, 1933-80. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1985; Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1985.)
  • Gyorgy Faludy, Corpses, Brats, and Cricket Music = Hullák, kamaszok, tücsökzene: Poems. Vancouver: Tanks, 1987.
  • Briefly Singing : A gathering of erotic, satirical, and other inscriptions, epigrams, and lyrics from the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, 800 BC - AD 1000: Including the complete poems of Rufinus. Victoria, BC: 1994.
  • Rufinus, The Complete Poems in English Versions. Mission, BC: Barbarian Press, 1997.


  • J.M. Synge, Translations. Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1961.
  • Edward Thomas, Selected Poems. London: Hutchinson, 1962.
  • J.M. Synge, Collected Works. London: Oxford University Press, 1962-1968.
  • Six Irish Poets: Austin Clarke, Richard Kell, Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, Richard Murphy, Richard Weber (1962)
  • Five Poets of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washingto Press, 1964.
  • Poetry of the Thirties: From Auden to Spender. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1964.
  • Lord Byron, Selected Poems. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1965.
  • David Gascoyne, Collected Poems. London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1965.
  • The World of W B Yeats: Essays in perspective (edited with Anne Saddlemyer). Victoria, BC: University of Victoria / Adelphi Bookshop, 1965.
    • revised eition, 1967.
  • Irish Renaissance: A Gathering of essays, memoirs and letters from the Massachusetts Review (edited with David R. Clark). Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1965.
  • Poetry of the Forties. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1968.
  • Introductions from an Island; A selection of poems by students in the creative writing programme of the University of Victoria. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 1969.
  • David Gascoyne, Collected Verse Translations (edited with Allan Clodd). London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
  • Herbert Read: A memorial symposium. London: Methuen, 1970.
  • Jack B. Yeats, Collected Plays. London: Secker & Warburg, 1971; Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971.
  • J.M. Synge, The Writings of J.M. Synge. London: Thames & Hudson, 1971; Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971.
  • Introductions from an Island, 1971. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 1971.
  • A Gathering in Celebration of the Eightieth Birthday of Robert Graves (edited with William Thomas). Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 1975.
  • Herbert Siebner: A celebration (edited with James Bennett & Karl Spreitz). Victoria, BC: Morriss, 1979.
  • Six Poets of British Columbia. Victoria, BC: Sono Nis Press, 1980.
  • Ezra Pound, From Syria: The worksheets, proofs, and text. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1981.
  • Jack B. Yeats, Selected Writings. London: Andre Deutsch, 1991.
  • Dark Seasons A Selection of Georg Trakl Poems (1994)
  • David Gascoyne, Selected Verse Translations (edited with Allan Clodd). London: Enitharmon Press, 1996.
  • The Shapes of Our Singing: A guide to the meters and set forms of verse from around the world. Spokane, WA: Eastern Washington University Press. 2002.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]

See alsoEdit


  • Robin Skelton, The Record of A Logophile. Victoria, BC: Reference West, 1990.
  • Skelton at 60 (edited by Barbara L. Turner). Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1986.
  • John Skelton, Skelton at Seventy: A Major Retrospective Exhibition. 1993.



  1. 1.0 1.1 #122 - Robin Skelton, BC BookLook, February 2, 2016. Web, Apr. 29, 2019.
  2. Search results = au:Robin Skelton, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Feb. 19-21, 2015.

External linksEdit

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