Pat’s Latest Book

from Oxford University Press

how the light

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Pat's poem, Barry Moser's illustration. Proceeds to AWA outreach. For the text of the poem, click here.

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Pat’s Blog

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I am delighted to announce that I have two poems coming out in the upcoming publication The Poetry of Presence.

I know many of the readers of this blog and on my mailing list are facilitating workshops in the AWA method, so you may be particularly interested. Here’s part of the promotiong for the book: “a valuable resource for literature teachers, spiritual directors, meditators, interfaith clergy, mindfulness trainers, social workers, counselors, poetry therapists, hospice and grief workers, and medical personnel.”

I’m honoured to be in the company of these poets, and many others:

Yehuda Amichai • Margaret Atwood • Ellen Bass • Wendell Berry • Robert Bly • Billy Collins • Mahmoud Darwish • Thich Nhat Hanh • Joy Harjo • Tony Hoagland • Miroslav Holub • Marie Howe • Erica Jong • Kabir • Galway Kinnell • Ted Kooser • Howard Nemerov • Kathleen Norris • Mary Oliver • Rainer Maria Rilke • Rumi • May Sarton • William Stafford • David Wagoner • Alice Walker and many more. Click here to see the full list of poets.
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August 17th was the 60th Anniversary of our wedding — August 17th, 1957. Here’s a new poem and some old and new pictures.


Today the Visiting Nurse Association
has pronounced me able to walk up
the flight of stairs to our double bed.

According to the computer,
I am today 29,908 days old.
Of those days, I have lived with you
21,430 days. We have slept together
more than twenty-one thousand nights.

I gripped the handrail with two hands
as the Visiting Nurse physical therapist
watched from the first floor and you
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Dear friends and companions,

I am honored to have been asked to lead one component of an on-line retreat that promises to be rich with opportunities to go inward artistically and/or spiritually, guided by leaders of various paths toward pilgrimage and wholeness.

Here is how Elizabeth Foley, creator of The Art of Spiritual Living Online Retreat, explains it:

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I am thinking these days about publishing, and my current mentor is “The Little Red Hen.” Listen up, girls and boys. You never get too old to have new understandings.  I’ll be 83 in a couple of weeks (how did this happen!!??), and so I know whereof I speak.  The Little Red Hen is teaching me something important.  For those of you too young to know her, she is the star of an old English or Russian folk tale, first published as a “Golden Book” on October 1, 1942, when I was eight years old.  I think she has always been important to me, but my clearest memories of her are of reading her story to my children. The Little Red Hen is quite elderly now.  No telling when she was born into folklore!  More about her later.
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A – at last.

B – be still.

C – care for your spirit

D – dream

E – eat, with deep pleasure

F – feel

G – go without knowing your destination Continue reading

Pat with daughter Bethany and granddaughter Sarah

Dear travelers with me,

some months ago I wrote this letter to a friend, and today she sent it back to me, thanking me for it. Day before yesterday was the Women’s March  – so now I tinker with my letter, update it, and offer it to you.  My own tradition is Christian – those of you who have read my books know my struggle with my tradition – here that struggle with its problems and its strengths are clearly visible.
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In this season of great fear and danger, when wars and rumors of wars clash against our consciousness, it seems to me that we must do two things: commit ourselves to action toward peace and justice in every way possible to us, – and find in the small things, the tender things, the quiet things, meaning and patience and hope.
I do hold the hope and the belief that we are not alone in this universe. Although it is beyond my understanding or ability to name, I do experience what the ancient Hebrew poet expressed: Underneath are the everlasting arms.
I offer this new poem as a year’s end gift:


Snow fall
and all

the seeds
the birds feed on

Tiny, earnest
air full flakes

cover the hand
that spreads
more seeds.

Mercy and woe
world sized

Around us
always the fall

and the hand
offering more.

Pat Schneider

I was asked to write the introduction to a book of writings by 50 homeless and recently homeless women writing together at Mary’s Place in Seattle, WA. They use the method described in my book, Writing Alone & With Others, Oxford University Press.

This may be the best statement I have ever drafted of the work we do in Amherst Writers & Artists, and why we do it. The essay is here adapted for Anchor Magazine. Please click the link to read it online.

Original Voices essay w

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I’m delighted that my poem “The Patience of Ordinary Things” has just been published in Anchor Magazine accompanied by Fanny Rush’s stunning painting. (Please click on the link above or the painting below to see it).

Window - Summer Morning - Dorset by Fanny Rush Oil on Canvas, 67cm x 67cm

Window – Summer Morning – Dorset by Fanny Rush
Oil on Canvas, 67cm x 67cm

I’m in love with Fanny and her work. You can see more at Continue reading

Elizabeth (Bye) Berryhill, 1920-2002

Elizabeth (Bye) Berryhill, 1920-2002

Written by Pat Schneider shortly before Elizabeth’s death.
I sit at her old desk, my laptop computer awkward between antique lamps. For me, this is a holy place, because it is a place of my own origin. A part of me was born here, raised here.  The part of me that became the adult, separate me.  The part of me that first believed I might become an artist with words.  The part of me that became a woman in the world, rather than a girl from a tenement.

I am sitting in Bye’s desk chair. Before me are two shelves – a bookcase made to fit the desk. The back of the big desk and the two shelves are stacked with orderly boxes, notebooks, envelopes clipped to box edges.  There are cans full of Number 2 pencils, and looking at them I remember Bye, one foot up on a low stage, another foot bearing her weight on the theatre floor, a pencil held poised above the clipboard on her knee, her face intent in thought as she looks into the space of the stage.

The pencil was her tool of choice. All around me are pencilled notes to herself, but among them, on a big bulletin board, there is a three-by-five card with a typed quote that I sent her.  I know this because she has penciled in a corner, “From Pat Schneider c. July 9, 1987.”  It is by Rainer Maria Rilke:

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Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) is the organization that is carrying on the work Pat established and carried on for more than 30 years. To discover how you can write with an AWA Method Group, or become trained as an AWA facilitator, please click this link.