By Susan Schmidt. Library Partners Press. November 2018.
In Let Go or Hold Fast, Beaufort Poems (Library Partners Press/ Gail O’Day 2018 Prize). Susan Schmidt celebrates neighbors in her small town—dolphins, manatees, sharks, herons, egrets, butterflies, ants, bees, possum, snake, owl, and bear. As she swims, paddles, rows, sand ails, she witnesses coastal diversity and resilience, threatened by sea level rise, development, motorboat wakes, tourists. As sailboat captain, master gardener, and Quaker naturalist, Schmidt is a keen observer. The newest poem describes Hurricane Florence’s damage, recovery, and toxic aftermath.
Poets praise her work. Joe Bathanti says, “In “Tyranny of Small Decisions,” I applaud your tackling such an important political subject. The language, imagery, line breaks & shape of the poem are stellar. Your instincts are on target. It’s so heartbreakingly true. Hard-core evidence cannot be disputed. Trust your reader to read deeply. You knowhow to write a poem, strong and accessible.”
Phillip Shabazz says, “Let Go or Hold Fast is a rare and engaged page-turner, a journey of passion, endurance, and self-perseverance.”