Every Saturday morning at 10:00 am magic happens in The Book Garden. We join harrowing hunting expeditions on the African Plains, discover and rediscover the miracle of child birth, face death and then turn and walk in the other direction, share demons and desires. We return to favorite childhood moments and wrap ourselves in others’ sorrows as if they were our own. And all of this occurs in the read-in kitchen over a cup of coffee and blueberry muffins. Traffic goes by, shoppers stroll along the sidewalks; families eat breakfast at the café down the street all unaware of the magic brewing in our kitchen. When we bought the bookshop Robert and I agreed we wanted to offer writing and other creative workshops to the community. The Memoir Writing Workshop I describe above is now in its second year. The teacher, Frenchtown’s own Dodge poet, Skye Van Saun, is inspiring as much as she is informative and encouraging.  She is also honest and doesn’t give false hope to these aspiring authors. She tells them that getting their worked published won’t be easy, even if they choose to do it themselves. But publishing isn’t the point really. The point is to tell their story because we all have a story worth telling....

-Caroline Scutt co-owner of The Book Garden- Regarding Skye's Memior Class at the Book Garden in Frenchtown NJ. Read more here -


I had the honor of accepting one of Skye's poems for inclusion in my anthology, Submerged: Tales From the Basin (StepSister Press, 2008). Skye is an enormous talent, on the brink of a discovery that will surely launch her into publishing terrain worthy of her work. I watched her with great pride as she read at the Dodge Poetry Festival, after which she received a standing ovation (the only one of the entire festival, from my experience. Sorry, Billy Collins). Skye writes from a deep place within her soul, and her words are never diluted by second-guessing or careerism. She writes what she means to say, and she says what she means, always. She's the real deal.
- Lauren Gonzalez, December 1, 2009

Submerged – Tales From the Basin: “Hide Nor Hair” – Pushcart Prize nomination
L. Gonzalez & L. Jordan, StepSister Press, 2008
ISBN 978-0-9802300-2-4

Dear Skye,

Words cannot express my gratitude for your presentations here at Union County College. The feedback from faculty and students alike has been overwhelming.
I hope you had a good sense of your impact upon the audience at your reading. Your compelling poetry absolutely drew out students who’ve never before been willing to share their own work nor discuss the meaning and importance of poetry. It resulted in a poetry buzz that was palpable for weeks. It was that buzz that drew so many to your workshop later in the day. That’s why they were sitting in the aisles.
About that workshop, I can only give you a big WOW. As awkward as that lecture hall was with its steeply raked bolted to the floor seats you still had ideas and language bouncing off the walls and generating new work. It was difficult to tell who received more from the experience: students new to poetry, students old to poetry or staff and faculty—very old to poetry. Many of the students continued with the new work, revised tweaked it all. Poetry submissions to the campus literary magazine were way up in numbers. This is to your credit.
You have made a major contribution to the school that reverberates well beyond the one day you were on campus. Thank you for your bravery in confronting, verbalizing and sharing subject matter that matters. Thank you for being an intrepid, precise and supportive teacher. Thank you for being an inspirational human being.

Michael Z Murphy, M.A., C.M.T.
Department of English/Fine Arts/Modern Languages/Communication
Union County College, Cranford, NJ


Some of the best, most powerful (and empowering) original poems about emotional and physical abuse I have ever read. It is not an uncommon (believe it or not) subject and it has to be done without sentimentality or self-pity for it to work. This Van Saun has done triumphantly! I will never forget the poem “Great Lengths” – it should be put up on the wall of every battered woman’s shelter, every police station, on the desk of every judge who grants or rescinds a restraining order!
-Thomas Lux


Skye Van Saun is a fierce, uncompromising witness.  Her poems of endurance come from a whole, healed place, where fear and loss are alchemized into wisdom.  They are artfully crafted and honest to the core.  Among many favorites, “Gathering Evidence,” “Object Permanence,” ”Widow's Benefits,” and “Great Lengths” are examples of Van Saun's exactness in observing nuances of physical and psychological experience.  I love her dark wit in “The Allure,” “Lesson Plan,” and “Hand to Mouth,” and the humility and gratitude of “Lifeline.”  The emotional impact of Van Saun’s compression and thrift moves me.  She is a poet of understated power and grace, whose writing serves not only her own survival but that of others.   
-Joan Larkin