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.

To hear Pat read the poem, click here.

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It was a wonderful celebration, and it put me in mind of what miracles can happen when a small group of friends work together.  This weekend Amherst Writers & Artists Press released our thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth books of poetry by poets who have come into their own voices over many years of participation in AWA workshops, trainings, and in leading their own workshops.  Ellen Summers’ chapbook, Spooner’s Cove, is celebration of the ways of water, in the human body as well as on the face of the earth. Poet Patricia Lee Lewis calls them a “gorgeous collection of sea-spangled, archetypal poems. The Glass Train, by Annie Fahy, is a full book.  Sue Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama, 2003-2012, wrote about it, “The poems . . . are delicate, beautiful, clear as crystal but also momentary shards of glass that cut when they deal with trauma.” Continue reading

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
Continue reading

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

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’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

Our house in summer.

Our house in summer.

Today is my birthday. For the eighty-first time, June 1, 1934 to June 1, 2015. Eighty-one birthdays. I want to give to you, my reader, a birthday gift.

This birthday is one of the best. For one thing, 81 is far less disturbing an idea than 80. 80 was O.M.G. terrifying. 81 is just more of the same. Cool – I’m “in my eighties.” No longer a stone of stumbling – more like bedrock.

Yesterday, the last day of May, Becca, my first-born, and her husband, Will came. In a day of occasional rain-showers, Becca and I worked in the flower beds around this old house. Gardening in the rain – it was purely delicious. Of course I mostly had to stand and supervise because of my left hip’s tendency to disconnect. She had the fun of getting mud all over herself. After this year’s long, merciless winter, we were surrounded by the green of spruce and maple, the white of peony and Japanese dogwood, and the yellow of iris and baby marigolds. Continue reading

ask pat header

Q:  What is the best way to learn how to write better poems?


A:  First, let’s eliminate the worst possibilities.  In my experience, the worst possible way is to join a class or workshop where the teacher’s or leader’s method is to show everyone what they did wrong, so go home and fix it.  A good workshop , for example, using the Amherst Writers & Artists method ,will put praise for what is strong first in every response, giving the emerging poet a foundation of strength on which to offer suggestions that will help him or her to build increasing craft. Continue reading

Pat and Sue at the end of the SoulCollage retreat 2We have just finished the SoulCollage and Writing time hosted here in Amherst. Sue Reynolds’ guidance encouraged me and twelve others to create small works of visual art, making visible to ourselves some things we might not have been able to put into words—and then, with those images to start us off, we did put them into words in writing sessions, sometimes led by me, sometimes by Sue. This gave us each space to do our own work, as well has to hold space for the retreat participants to do their work.

It was surely a break-through for me. Continue reading

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”



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.