marrow and lymph
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Reviews / Endorsements
“Vibrant, radiant, Michael Schmidt’s poetry is steeped in modernist tradition (Yeats and Eliot) and questingly new. The result is a passionate discourse that is at once earthy and numinous, from which ‘flows that unusual grace which is rooted in muscle, / Which comes from the marrow and lymph, which is divine.'"—John Ashbery
“The Stories of My Life houses a chapel of mysterious devotional poetry. Michael Schmidt's passion is lighted rather than told—then told, in poetry where he joins in lyric dialogue with the great churchmen poets' Further, in this book, he is in dialogue with what he reads, ‘exchanges confidence in blood, / telltale and intimate, profane, ’ loving jousts with many of the world's great poets, novelists, and thinkers, ancient and modern: Greeks, Pound's pals, old English, old American, etc., and he writes brilliant ‘afters’ and ‘froms,’ he makes it new—we are in St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Ávila, and C.H. Sisson country. Born in Mexico, Schmidt rides an invisible Rocinante through his adventures, which include chivalrous roadside and bedside encounters. The reader tags along happily on a donkey, in front, beside, and behind Don Michael.”—Stanley Moss
From the Book:
High on the hill shanties catch
The day's first rays, not hot at all,
That dazzle, the ignition
Of white things, blades of glass, of tin
And clothes hung out (the poor are
The cleanest people, always). Eyes
Open pearl white, the iris
Sapphire. Eyes open pearl white on
The day's one good minute.
Goes downhill after that to a
Descending chorus of cock
Crows, little birds jump from their nests.
The near hills shift to distance.
What is close and is not clean and
Cannot dazzle clarifies.
Light dulls to haze. It's eight o'clock,
The shrill knife grinder rides by.
Heads down, the cocks are plucking dust.
MICHAEL SCHMIDT was born and raised in Mexico and studied at Harvard and Oxford. He is the founder and director of Carcanet Press and editor of PN Review in the United Kingdom. In 2006, he was honored by the Order of the British Empire for his services to poetry. Schmidt’s Selected Poems received a PBS Special Commendation; his New and Collected Poems was published by Sheep Meadow Press (2010).