"Peter Schmitt presents a compelling, responsible, deeply felt and even exalted imagination that knows its way about the various worlds of immediacy, memory, dream, or fantasy, that we all inhabit in one way or another. His range is exemplary and, most persuasively of all, his poems are altogether without pretensions, as if they had been smelted down to draw off any possible impurities. They exhibit, in consequence, the ring of integrity so rare that it deserves the honor of our delight and gratitude.”
—Anthony Hecht, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
“Peter Schmitt’s poems are elegantly simple. Within a straightforward style are subtleties of discovery and recognition. I am delighted by its evident authenticity amid so much current poetry that is self-consciously overelaborated and dishonest. Peter Schmitt takes profundity by surprise, himself surprised, it seems, at what he has found—he had not stalked it. He gives his attention generously to what he observes, to detail as to mass. A real poet.”
—Denise Levertov, Robert Frost Medal-winning poet
“Peter Schmitt is a kind of poet I particularly admire, a kind lately much too much in the minority: one who writes lucid poems in precise language about life as it is.”
—Donald Justice, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
In Goodbye, Apostrophe, his first new collection in more than a decade, nationally recognized and prize-winning poet Peter Schmitt has assembled nearly 50 poems notable for their range and emotional power. From the hard lessons of childhood to the loss of parents, these poems confront the challenging issues of our time, including race, religion, abuse of varying kinds, and reflexive political correctness. By turns poignant and funny, elegiac and celebratory, formal and free, the mature work of a poet Richard Wilbur hailed as “one of the strongest talents in his generation” will resonate indelibly with any serious reader of American poetry.
Featured Poem: "Recommendation"
Her poem touched me, and it made me laugh,
a sweet and witty elegy for her cat,
and after she graduated I wrote
a long, enthused letter on her behalf
when she applied to join the police force.
Whatever possessed me, later, to Google
her lines, finding she’d lifted them wholesale
from an obscure British poet, my first
thought was to write again—to her sergeant.
But then I stopped; she’d put one over on me,
and I hoped she wasn’t patrolling the streets,
assigned anything dangerous or urgent,
but using her true talents at a desk,
investigating fraud, or identity theft.