“When you hold in your DNA two-countries — the cultures, the languages, the foods and stories — you embody richness. These writers know on a cellular level many-layered ways to live, to struggle, to love. Here are voices we need to hear, writers we need to read. This is a brilliant, timely book, an antidote to divisiveness.” – Peggy Shumaker, Author of “Just Breath Normally.” Poet, Professor and former Alaska State Writer Laureate.
“As one of the essays in this marvelous anthology reminds us, the notion of home can encompass the complex differences between house, country, birthplace, and homeland. Given that amplitude, it turns out that Two-Countries is about dozens of countries, about dozens of intimate histories that map the latitudes of leaving and belonging. Every anthology makes an argument, and the one Tina Schumann movingly presents in Two-Countries is that the American experiment of multiplicity has been, by turns, painful and redemptive. In their accounts of assimilation and nostalgia, celebration and resistance, the poets and writers in Two-Countries show that one result of our ongoing national experiment is a rich deepening in our literature. We may be in perilous times as a country, but our writers have never been in more ferocious health.” – Rick Barot, Author of “Chord” and recipient of the PEN Open Book Award.
“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 “In the Evening of No Warning” and “Self-Portrait with Expletives,” winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series Book Competition. (Pleiades Press)
“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:A 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)
“As a writer, a musician, and a daughter whose mother had Alzheimer’s, Tina Schumann’s work resonated with me on a variety of levels. The language and the narrative within the poems reaches a crescendo even as Schumann’s father slowly and then more rapidly begins his diminuendo. The poems were both heartbreaking and full of the dark humor that one must cultivate to survive the terrible loss of a parent to dementia. Schumann’s acute portrayal of a daughter’s duty and pain captivates from beginning to end.” – Kate Carroll de Gutes, winner, 2016 Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction and 2016 Lambda Literary Award in memoir.
“Tina Schumann’s poems address the big questions successfully because the poet is honest in her self-reflective moments, rigorous in her moments of intellectual parry, playfull linguistically, and keen in her perceptions of those off-the-radar states of being that are so tricky to catch in an accurate way. She refuses to be overwhelmed by the enormity of her task. Her reliance on tonal shifts, formal arrangement and personal accountability make for a collection that strips away the artifices of consolation even as it strives to bless.”—Lia Purpura, author of “King Baby,” winner of the 2007 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books.
“In As If we have a poet completely in her element. The voice/tone is consistent, strong, and each poem communicates with the others. This book dishes it out without being confrontational, subversion and surprise on every page. The pace/cadence is superbly controlled by intelligent line breaks (which may surprise the reader as these lines can be ridiculously long, the poems bulky, yet it’s all masterfully done), enjambments, and the musicality of Schumann’s diction. She is part Whitman, part prophet of the Americana. Not many poets I know can be both heartbreaking and funny, but Schumann manages to walk the line between grief and guffaw.” —Michael St. Paul, Goodreads.com, Community Reviews.
“One of the delights of poetry, for me, is seeing through the eyes of another–whatever the perceptions. Tina…yes, friend and classmate at RWW…shows me the familiar, but in her language, not mine. Such a reward! For instance, from “The Other Life”, she begins:
It would be so easy just to stop,
To get in my car every day,
plan dinner on the drive in.
Give my co-workers Christmas cards
and wait it out until retirement.
and in the last stanza–
The sheriff’s steady gun is pointed
right between your eyes and this is what he says:
That’s it, real easy now, put down the pen,
back away from the paper, and no one
I had to read twice to get the “pen” because the anticipated word couldn’t be “pen”–could it? And yes, Tina gets a little sideways smile and says, really?The range here is so broad–profound sadness, honesty in the tiny details–and always the unexpected.” — Judith Shadford, Goodreads.com, Community Reviews.
“Stunning first book by poet Tina Schumann. Rich imagery and musicality in contrast to the exploration of themes of diminishment of self. Wordsworthian in the way the author at once observes her surroundings minutely yet points away from her own sentient being while illuminating the everyday objects around her. Her observations of daily life bring a disarmingly fresh perspective that rings unquestionably true. Schumann shares the nearly ecstatic experience of driving in the car with a “velocity of awe” and “clarity at the wheel” in “Autumn.” She observes that “natures owe me / nothing” when the speaker pulls the tenuous roots of fast spreading weeds in “Praising the Paradox.” The “jab and flow” of a girl’s cotton skirt makes “more of this material world / than you and I will ever know” in “Banishment at Noon.” Throughout, Schumann leads the reader through deeply considered paradoxes of existence by illustrating the quotidian jab and flow of this material world so readers can experience their own velocity of awe.”—Jill McCabe Johnson, author of “Revolutions We’d Hoped We’d Outgrow.”
“Tina Schumann’s work is intimate, accessible and full of surprises. She works through the every day blessings and curses of life with a poignant humor. She grounds her work in tangible daily things. As If is a wonderfully satisfying collection of work. And I think especially satisfying for those of us with some life experience under our belts.” —Danika Dinsmore, author of the White Forest Series.
“I may not be much of a poet, nor know nearly as much as I should about poetry, but I really like the imagery, “stories” embedded within each poem, and voice (sound even) of Tina Schumann’s first book of poems. Some of the ideas or themes the poems explore include the intersection of others and the self, domesticity and its familiarity and tensions, an artist’s contemplation, and the many facets of family. My favorite poem of the collection is “Autumn” — the sudden moment of joyful sadness at the temporal, even everyday, as we travel with our “velocity of awe” (so nicely put).” —Noah Ashenhurst, author of the novel “Comfort Food.”
More praise for Tina’s As If from Being Poetry:
“Tina’s poetry is filled with restless questioning… of identity, of the very stuff we’re made of, of the temporary nature of the body and the evolving nature of the self. The tone of her collection is introspective, wise, witty, erudite, and self-aware. Within a few poems, you trust this speaker to take you on an interesting journey even if its primarily in her own head. Although for the most part the work is cerebral, there are surprising bursts of the visceral. Tina has a good eye for physical detail, choosing just one element to encapsulate the whole scene, the ruffle of a girl’s hemline or the Gerber Daisies on their “brainless stems.”
As If is filled with poems of introspection, both of willed stillness and accidental stasis. The speaker allows you to follow her as she moves throughout her day, examining her tasks and her self, “the little soul encapsulated in her little hut.” It is the speaker’s utter lack of pretension that woos to the reader; in her uncertainty she mirrors our own, “Fated sky, itinerant world / what will I unlearn / that I take as gospel now?” I think you will enjoy the journey that Tina takes you on.”— Erin Hollowell, author of “Pause, Traveler.”
(from Erin’s Being Poetry blog)
Early praise for Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019): “What I admire most in Praising the Paradox is the resilience throughout, and an awareness of the common world that both comforts and devastates. These poems navigate a landscape of loss where what goes on is the sway of stoplights, the waitress with her coffee-pot suspended in the air, the everyday moments that gather momentum and make a life. These poems celebrate the small gestures, carrying pain alongside joy, reminding us we are alive.” – Dorianne Laux, author of “The Book of Men,” winner of the Paterson Prize and “Facts About the Moon,” which won the Oregon Book Award.