“Peter Schmitt has put together an outstanding first book. He is a writer who deals in human-sized and probable feelings, in a quiet voice which is always justly tuned. Reading these poems, one feels like calling a friend’s attention to their extraordinary tact—the poet’s precise sense of his relation to his addressees, to the persons within the poems, to the reader. Let me instance the delicacy of Letter to a Homesick Niece; the swift insight of Glance; the warm tentativeness of String Quartet; the charmed puzzlement of tone in Naming the Stars; the casual-sounding yet minutely evidential narration of Nature Hike. That last poem, by the way, is proof of how well syllabics may work in English. There are indeed all sorts of things to praise in these subtle, genuine, accomplished poems.”
—Richard Wilbur, Poet Laureate of the United States and 2-time Pulitzer Prize winner
“These poems are absolutely honest and without fakery, firmly convincing in their imaginative play. There is humor here, and modesty, and something closely approaching visionary experience. Mr. Schmitt is a poet well-launched upon a serious poetic career, a man worth watching.”
—Anthony Hecht, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
“Lucid poems, truly observed and truly spoken.”
—Donald Justice, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
“Here is a poet whose circumspection leads unexpectedly, and all the more reliably, into the natural and quiet affluence of the world.”
Featured Poem: "For a Sleepless Child"
For a Sleepless Child
If your room is ever too dark,
small one, look out through your window
up at the moon, that little bulb
left on for you in the sky's black wall.
It will still be there come morning,
burning in a bright room of blue.
And if your room, restless one,
is much too still, listen to the clatter
of the freight, rattling past trestles
on the cool night breeze. Then follow
the moon to the side of the tracks,
where the train is a long, slow dream
you can jump on. An open car
is waiting for you--one step up--
you're on! Now watch the dark towns, the lights
deep in the porches, and lie down
in the soft straw, and sleep till morning,
when the train chugs into the station,
noisy with birds and wires overhead.