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CULTURAL WEEKLY Features Tina Schumann

Poets on Craft is a cyberspace for contemporary poets to share their thoughts and ideas on the process of poetry and for students to discover new ways of approaching the writing of poetry. In the face of a pandemic that is both viral and political, it is a resource for strength and creativity, friendship and beauty, love and rejuvenation. It is thus a celebration of the beautiful and eclectic minds of contemporary poets.
“Generally speaking, how do you build a poem? How do you start a poem? How do you move from one line to the next? How do you know when to end a poem?”
Tina Schumann: The impulse to start a poem for me usually arises out of a moment of colliding elements (images, emotions, questions etc.) One or more of these elements may have been simmering away on the back burner of my mind for a while. For example, it might be that I had been thinking of my father and his dementia at the same time I am driving down a tree lined street on a fall day, a leaf glides to the ground while I pass a house under construction and bam! a trifecta of images, thoughts and emotions have collided and I know something is coming to a boiling point that will eventually make it on the page. I cannot fully articulate it at that moment, but I know (call it inspiration) that that moment of impact has stirred in me the urge to work towards getting to the root of a particular illumination and its connective tissue.

Few poets make ideas as tactile as Tina Schumann. At once readily accessible and piercingly ambiguous, Requiem: A Patrimony of Fugues presents both the heartbreak and the epiphanies involved in caring for a beloved parent who is gradually fading into self-eradicating dementia. Each deeply elegiac poem stands on its own while serving as yet one more critical juncture in this most remarkable sequence. The volume astonishes not simply because of its consistently remarkable phrasing or its myriad musical nuances, but because of the inventive line-by-line composing and the manifold interpretative possibilities on every page. Schumann’s achievement is that the brilliant verse rendering of her ministrations calls us back to her daughterly devotion over and over.

—Kevin Clark, author of Self-Portrait with Expletives, winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series Book Competition

Tina Schumann is author of Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019) and As If (Parlor City Press), which was awarded the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize for 2010. She is editor of the anthology Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press, 2017). Her work received the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, a pushcart nomination and finalist status in the National Poetry Series, Four Way Books Intro Prize and the New Issues Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in publications and anthologies since 1999 including The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Cimarron Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod,, The Human and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.


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