3 : 4 April 2004

THE SOLITARY POET, a book of poems
by Stan Schmidt


Solitary Poet

It is never possible to match the expressions of a poet, especially because no real poet writes poetry merely for the sake of writing it. A poet, in his or her essence, is truly a solitary person. We come to identify ourselves with the thoughts and emotions collected and expressed in solitude by a poet. Poems uplift our soul, and we easily begin to identify ourselves with the poet, and associate his words, thoughts, emotions and everything that touches our heart in his poems with our own life. For thousands of years, people have been identifying themselves with the sufferings, struggles, thoughts, emotions, and spiritual yearnings of King David through reading his Psalms. Of all the arts, the gift of writing poetry is truly a gift, not attainable by any concerted discipline.

The Solitary Poet, poems of reflection is a collection of poems by Stan Schmidt, recently published by the First Books Library (First Books Library, Bloomington, IN, 2004. ISBN 1-4140-6582-5). We learn from the preface of the poet that this is his fourth book of poems, all published by the same publisher, focusing on the inner struggles to make sense out of life. The poems are intended to "draw attention to the questions and the frustrations that accompany them." Indeed, a reader of these poems does sense the struggle of the poet, and in the process sees himself facing the same struggles.

The poems abound in very interesting word pictures. The poems start with our every day experiences, and speak about these experiences in a language and tone that brings the underlying conflicts and contradictions of our life.

am I clean from the purge
still only having a yellow badge of courage
Gideon I am not
too many wars I have fought
courage being my weak link
defeat far from succinct
since this battlefield
did yield
a soldier
without a cure
and confused (Yellow Badge of Courage)

The solitary poet is in great agony, willing to open up himself but not yet ready. He cries aloud:

surviving the torturous hours
being deaf to tone
locked inside
staring outside
tormented by the past
unable to handle the present
life cannot last
for this forgotten peasant
my potential no one will see
being buried at the bottom of the sea (The Lost Treasure)
We all face struggles in our life searching for direction. The solitary poet faces this in his life, and when we read his expressions we wonder whether he is talking about himself or about us.
a dog may be able to bark
but a cat can see in the dark
yet I cannot see in mine
the absence of light leaves me blind
left only with cries
since I don't have cat eyes
stumbling around
light bound
but all is dark
so I am missing the mark
having night congestion
begging the question
so I ask ya
do I live in Alaska (The Year of the Cat)

The solitary poet is not agony; he also has hope, looks for a day when he will be liberated from these dark hours that daunt him now. And toward that end, he proclaims that he would rather join the rank of Job:

making others think I'm really alive
yet I have taken such a dive
that I broke my neck
keeping my mobility merely a speck
so when you look at me
I'm not what you see
a heart so torn
that healing will never be born
unless all my waiting
is creating
an unseen
that the heavens will endow
but I certainly do not see that now
making it so hard to run
when your baggage weighs a ton
yet I will wear humility like a robe
and joins the ranks of Job
who held back from being a fraud
by not putting the blame on God (Count It All Joy)

A very personal poetry, and I have no doubt that people will read it with feeling, and will gain directions amidst all their struggles.

Copies of this volume of poems are easily available through AMAZON.COM. You can click on the AMAZON.COM link given below or on top of this page.