Rebecca Schumejda

Albany Poets Presents! – Rebecca Schumejda, October 19

This bi-monthly series reconvened this night at Restaurant Navona on New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY with our host President Thom Francis presenting poet Rebecca Schumejda.

While some of us dined & drank, Rebecca gave a reading from a variety of her chapbooks & book-length collections, beginning with “Rice” (from The Map of Our Garden, Verve Bath Press, 2009), another garden poem “From Seed to Seed.” From Falling Forward (Sunny Outside Press, 2008) a poem for her father “Workman’s Prayer.” Her book Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012) was inspired by running a pool hall, with characters she read about with names like Micky Meatballs & Bobby Balls-In-Hand. Her 2014 collection from Bottom Dog Press Waiting at the Dead End Diner resonates with anyone who has ever worked or eaten in a diner; she read “The Accountant” & “No One Cares.” She is working on a new collection & shared a couple poems from it with us, “The Weed Wacker” & a piece about neighborhood characters “Our One Way Street.”

During the discussion & Q&A Rebecca talked about her early, pre-internet, publishing of a zine on Long Island where she grew up, & discovering the work of such local zine luminaries Paul Weinman, Alan Catlin & Lyn Lifshin. She was also asked about her early days of working at Friendly’s; later, she said, when she was writing Waiting at the Dead End Diner she returned to waitressing part-time. In response to a question about the changes in her writing she said she is writing more personal poems now — “always me, always from my point of view” — rather than in the voice of a persona. She also talked about her working with students, the rewards & challenges & the potential for more poems in the future.

If you don’t know Rebecca’s work her books are available from her website and with her now living in the Capital District I suspect you will be able to hear her read her work at local venues. Stayed tuned to for the next Albany Poets Presents!


This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on Wednesday, October 26, 2016