Author: michaelschmeltzer

Honors and Honored

My debut full-length poetry collection “Blood Song” was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award (an award for best book of poetry from an independent or university press) not too long ago and that felt tremendous. It’s an amazing honor to be recognized like that. But equally humbling was the fact Stephen Furlong not only bothered to read my book but felt compelled to write a review of it. Reviewing seems to be an especially thankless genre of writing; I see why hardly anyone does it. Which makes this all the more heart warming to me.

“Vulnerability in Schmeltzer’s writing is one of his poetic strengths,” Stephen writes. As an artist who aims toward the vulnerable, who wants to enact vulnerability not just as craft but as a lifestyle, Stephen’s compliment means the absolute world to me.

Thank you Stephen, and thank you to those involved in the Julie Suk Award process. You all make the writing world a better place.

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Buy Books, Do Good

Ahh yes, it’s that time of year when writers with books post things like “You know what makes great gifts? My books!” They say this with a bit of hope and a bit of shame. I’m no exception. I’ve got books. They’d make great gifts.

BUT even better than my poetry books is the fact if you order through me I’ll donate part of the proceeds to your choice of either the Southern Poverty Law Center (a nonprofit org dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society) or SafeBAE (a student-focused, survivor-driven campaign whose mission is to raise awareness about sexual assault in middle and high schools and student’s rights under Title IX.) Buy books, do good, win-win.

So, if you want either “Elegy/Elk River” (my prize-winning chapbook of poems) or “Blood Song” (my debut full-length) message me and let’s make the world a better place.

On Being Thankful

I have found joy in the smallest things: tiny dogs carried by their owners, smooth rocks, how you can pretend to be a dragon when it’s cold and your breath visible. It’s childish. I’m childish. That part of me, the part that still tries the new flavor of chips or chocolate, is what has kept me going as a writer.

I don’t submit as much as I use to. I don’t write as much either. But there are enough small joys in the literary world (and big ones if you know where to look) that keep me going.

This week has been filled with joys in my world. Chloe Clark wrote a blog post over at Ploughshares on “poetry after disaster,” and was kind enough to include one of my poems. Gulf Stream Lit and Two Sylvias Press both nominated me for a Pushcart Prize. And one of the powerhouses of literary citizenship, Mr. Bear (and Georgia Bellas), did a feature of my work paired with some music by Leonard Cohen on the literary podcast, Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon. I don’t know whether to consider these small joys or large ones. But they are joys, and I’m thankful for them. This much I know.