October 26, 2016

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 AlbanyPoets.com 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 Friendlies; 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. & 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 AlbanyPoets.com for the next Albany Poets Presents!

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