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SUNDOWN AT FAITH REGIONAL

Selected Poems of M. Vasalis

Translated by Fred Lessing & David Young

In Sundown at Faith Regional, Barbara Schmitz offers Heart Medicine which “drops the pain body”—an invitation to let go to the rhythms of her love songs to life. Death and childhood; memory and forgetting; family cacophonies and inventions of relationships. Detachment and acceptance, like ‘the indifference cloak,’ creates a liberating energy. “The wings to the heart the Sufis say / are independence / and indifference,’ and the sense of humor at our failings becomes the success. Laced with “beauty, the lyrical pain,” we drink an elixir of laughter and tears.

 

“Barbara Schmitz explores the necessary question of how to live fully even as one faces one’s own mortality. The poems are clear-eyed, unflinching, accepting of loss and grief, acknowledging suffering, yet often witty and filled with a quiet sense of wonder as she observes the world around her and ponders the connections we humans make with our surroundings and each other. She knows that ‘It hurts this dissolving / Still it’s where we hope to go.’ Her poems never lose faith as they sing us on our way.”—Grace Bauer, author of Unholy Heart: New & Selected Poems

 

“Sundown at Faith Regional is like a look at a lifetime in a moment’s flash. Barbara Schmitz works with heavy themes of aging and illness using a gentle touch that shows a comforting joy. It’s this kind of playing with our expectations that adds to the power, with poems like ‘Meditation on Potato Salad’ which has dimensions by being both funny as well as a serious meditation on meditation. It’s a book full of surprises in both the pain and the joy of it, well worth the journey.”—Matt Mason, author of I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon

 

‘Give me inspiration’ Schmitz asks ‘one more noseful mouthful / eyes alight give me wonder’ and the universe answers as it always does, with longings fulfilled and forgotten, with generous hours that whittle down toward their final goodbyes. While both faith and fear linger here, Sundown at Faith Regional bends the needle toward hope, ‘not lying exactly / but stretching the truth / with our arms so / it fits over our shoulders.’—Todd Robinson, author of Mass for Shut-Ins

 

BARBARA SCHMITZ is the Poet of Highway 81 on whose banks she has written to the sighing and whizzing of the traffic for over half her life. Two of her poetry books have won the Nebraska Center for the Book Poetry Award. Just Outside was published by Sandhills Press in 2019.

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ALSO BY BARBARA SCHMITZ:

Path of Lightning (2012): A seeker’s jagged journey: a heartful, funny, and deeply moving “spiritual autobiography” that brings the reader along on each stage of her fervent inner quest for mystical experience. (6"x9" paperback, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-11-3 $17).

“Schmitz invests her restless poetic searching with a dedication to truth-seeking that is unwavering, and with an ethical passion that lends both gravity and intellectual resonance to her poems …” Read the Review