Requiem: A Patrimony of Fugues
About the Author
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 forthcoming 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, Tarrain.org, The Human and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.
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
“It’s a rare poet whose words plumb the depths of our lives with the resonant complexity of music; it’s an ambitious poet who attempts this. In Requiem. Patrimony of Fugues, Tina Schumann honestly and fearlessly explores what it means to lose a father to dementia. From the opening “Overture (anticipation)” through the final “Long Distance Dirge,” Schumann shuttles back and forth in time, reweaving her father and their complex relationship in memory as he frays. Despair is here, but so is redemption: “what he taught me with intention—that I could bear my own weight, /that I was stronger than I knew.” Every difficult note rings true; every poem will break open your heart, reminding us of our shared, fragile humanity.”
—Holly J. Hughes, editor of Beyond Forgetting: Poetry & Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press)