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Pat reading her poems

It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me – we’ve had some health challenges here over the winter.

I’m delighted to be sending out this news today – Peter’s poem “Lost in Plain Sight” is the poem on Ted Kooser’s “Poetry in America” today!

This is a big deal! Newspapers carrying the column download it as a PDF and run it on their usual print schedules; subscribers will receive it electronically. Current readership is about 4.6 million people.

People in 71 countries now receive the column: Nepal, Indonesia, Uganda, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Egypt, Tunisia, most of Europe, Mexico, India, The Philippines, Turkey, China, Canada, Viet Nam, South Korea, Myanmar, the Tarawa atoll, Argentina and the U.K., as well as U.S. readers from Maine to Hawaii.

Also recently a friend of ours created this lovely video where Peter and I are both interviewed, recite some of our work, and recall how we first met; it includes Peter reading this poem.

Pat & Peter from Steveg1000 on Vimeo.

And here is Peter’s beautiful poem:

by Peter Schneider

Somewhere recently
I lost my short term memory.
It was there and then it moved
like the flash of a red fox
along a line fence.

My short term memory
has no address but here
no time but now.
It is a straight-man, waiting to speak
to fill in empty space
with name, date, trivia, punch line.
And then it fails to show.

It is lost, hiding somewhere out back,
a dried ragweed stalk on the Kansas prairie
holding the shadow of its life
against a January wind.

How am I to go on?
I wake up a hundred times a day.
Who am I waiting for,
what am I looking for
why do I have this empty cup
on the porch or in the yard?

I greet my neighbor, who smiles.
I turn a slow, lazy Susan
in my mind, looking for
some clue, anything to break the spell
of being lost in plain sight.

Today two very nice things are happening for me and my poetry!

The first is that an interview of me by Daisy Mathias and reading of my poems is being broadcast at 5 p.m.on WMUA, 91.1 FM., the radio station of UMass.

For eleven years, Daisy Mathias has produced a weekly radio program on WMUA-Amherst, 91.1 FM, the student and community radio station of UMass-Amherst. Poetry à la Carte features poems both ancient and modern, commentary, and interviews with local poets. The program is streamed live at, Mondays, 5 pm EST.

In her spare time, Daisy consults as a pediatric speech-language pathologist at Shriners Hospital, Springfield, MA.

And the second is that a poem of mine is being featured on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.

Newspapers carrying the column download it as a PDF and run it on their usual print schedules.

People in 71 countries now receive the column in Nepal, Indonesia, Uganda, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, most of Europe, Mexico, India, The Philippines, Turkey, China, Viet Nam, South Korea, Canada, Myanmar, Argentina, Tarawa Atoll, the U.K., and U.S. Readers from Maine to Hawaii. It’s amazing to think of people in all these places reading the work of contemporary American poets each Monday.

Current readership is about 3,500,000 per week. Subscribers receive it electronically.


Additional info:

Listen to Pat read her poem: “About, Among Other Things, God”


The primrose blooms in the garden.
The mourning dove calls in the sycamore tree.
Rain on the sill of the window,
sounds of every kind of weather
are sweet in this old house.

In the pantry, jars of beans,
lentils, sunflower seeds. Sesame. Jars
of preserves, small cans
of spices stand in rows.

It is here.

A woman stands in the doorway
and calls. Her apron bleached from washings
and from hanging in the sun. Behind her,
through the doorway, the house
is dark and cool, and the word
that she calls into the late afternoon,
into the shadows gathering under the lilacs,
into the long, long shadow of the sycamore tree
is come.
Come home.

— Pat Schneider

Listen to Pat read her poem: “The Grandmother”


Listen to Pat read her poem: “Instructions for the Journey”


The self you leave behind
is only a skin you have outgrown.
Don’t grieve for it.
Look to the wet, raw, unfinished
self, the one you are becoming.
The world, too, sheds its skin:
politicians, cataclysms, ordinary days.
It’s easy to lose this tenderly
unfolding moment. Look for it
as if it were the first green blade
after a long winter. Listen for it
as if it were the first clear tone
in a place where dawn is heralded by bells.

And if all that fails,
wash your own dishes.
Rinse them.
Stand in your kitchen at your sink.
Let cold water run between your fingers.
Feel it.

Listen to Pat read her poem: “What I Want to Say”


Well, I was playing, see,
in the shadow of the tabernacle.
I was decorating mud pies
with little brown balls
I found scattered on the ground
like nuts, or berries.
Until some big boy came walking by
and laughed. “Hey,
don’t you know you’re puttin’ goat doo
on your mud pies? I bet
you’re gonna eat ’em, too!”

That day I made a major error
in my creative life.

What I want to say is this:
I liked those little balls
on my mud pies. I was a sculptor,
an artist, an architect. I was
making pure design in space and time.
But I quit
because a critic came along
and called it shit.

~Pat Schneider, from Another River: New and Selected Poems

Available from thebookstore if you’d like to get a copy of your own.

Listen to Pat read her poem “Truth Enough”:

How much hair do I have? you ask,
sitting straight upon the kitchen stool.
I circle you, cut the fine filigree
silver over your ear.

I tell you the truth: Enough.
There is an echo at the edges of the word
which is the lie: Why, love, you still
have lots and lots of hair!

I have always told you the truth.
Even when you didn’t want to know it,
not all of it, I mean, and if I had my life
to live again from the beginning, all
those choices, I might pick kindness
more, let truth alone to ripen on the tree.

But it is your hair I am cutting
on this ordinary afternoon,
and I am making love,
the circle of white on the kitchen floor
an aura. How black, how thick your hair
was! How in the steamy kitchen,
four children underfoot, grapes picked
for jelly tumbled in the collander, fruit jars
hot, baked bread sliced to steaming slabs
and everywhere outside the crimson leaves
falling — there in that confusion,
did I cut your hair?

Today the house is silent. Leaves fall,
but they do not seem to clatter
red against the gold the way they used to do.

Our children watch us delicately from portraits
on the wall. After all,
you say, how much hair do I have?

Enough, I say. I don’t want to talk.
There is an aura on the kitchen floor,
and I am making love.
~Pat Schneider, from Another River: New and Selected Poems

Available from thebookstore if you’d like to get a copy of your own.

Listen to Pat read her poem “Going Home the Longest Way Around”:



we tell stories, build
from fragments of our lives
maps to guide us to each other.
We make collages of the way
it might have been
had it been as we remembered,
as we think perhaps it was,
tallying in our middle age
diminishing returns.
Last night the lake was still;
all along the shoreline
bright pencil marks of light, and
children in the dark canoe pleading
“Tell us scary stories.”
Fingers trailing in the water,
I said someone I loved who died
told me in a dream
to not be lonely, told me
not to ever be afraid.
And they were silent, the children,
listening to the water
lick the sides of the canoe.
It’s what we love the most
can make us most afraid, can make us
for the first time understand
how we are rocking in a dark boat on the water,
taking the long way home.
~ Pat Schneider
Another River: New and Selected Poems
Amherst Writers & Artists Press

A broadside of this poem signed by both Barry Moser and Pat Schneider is available through the bookstore.

Proceeds go to AWA outreach.

For the text of the poem, click here.

Or go straight to the bookstore to buy a copy.