Sentenced: It’s not that we didn’t know what the sentence would be, it’s that we didn’t know what would happen on the other side of the sentence. We didn’t understand that it would be a long story, paragraphs filled with contrasting sentences: mine, my husband’s, my mother’s, her mother’s, her father’s, their sons, her sister’s, her brother’s, friends and family. What we didn’t know is that, for us, this day would not bring closure; instead, this day propelled us into new directions.
Poetry, Family & Relationships.
“Very few of us will ever experience what Rebecca Schumejda has experienced, but her writing induces images and feelings that pull us all into her world where we begin to understand that it is never just the individuals confined within concrete fortresses surrounded by bars and locked doors that live their lives trying to navigate through an institution of incarceration. "When your house is framed with bones / and the walls are sheet rocked with flesh / there is no room for full-length mirrors / or empty apologizes," Schumejda's new book Sentenced shows us that even in the wide-open fields of our own freedom, there is always that space between one's head and one's heart that acts like an emotional prison we spend time in, and may never be set free from.”—Victor Clevenger, author of The Most Beautiful Thing About June
“Rebecca Schumejda has written a heartbreaking book filled with hard-earned beauty. The poems in Sentenced crackle with pain and love and music. I've read all of Schumejda's books, and they are all excellent, filled with working-class narratives and character studies made of truth, but she hits notes in Sentenced that ring across every living thing and all our hopes and fears. This is a book about murder. This is a book about mental illness. This is a book about families. This is a book about prison. And recovery. And forgiveness. And not forgiving. This is a book of poems that reaches beyond most of our reaches and allows us to connect with stories that are both unimaginable and true. Here is what it means to tell the truth about our worst pains. Rebecca Schumejda takes the tragedy of being alive and makes it into art. This is, finally, a book about healing. I feel blessed to have read it.”—Dave Newman, author of The Same Dead Songs
“Rebecca Schumejda’s Sentenced proves Joyce Carol Oates’ theory about “tragedy [being] the highest form of art.” With empathy and compassion that seemingly exceeds human capacity, Schumejda examines how an unfathomable crime rocked two families to their very foundation. I've been a fan of Schumejda’s poetry for more than two decades, and Sentenced gifts her readers with the opportunity to watch an immensely talented poet working at the zenith of her considerable capabilities.”—Nathan Graziano, author of Fly Like The Seagull and My Next Bad Decision
Rebecca Schumejda is the author of several poetry collections including FALLING FORWARD (sunnyoutside, 2009), CADILLAC MEN (NYQ Books, 2012), Waiting at the Dead End Diner WAITING AT THE DEAD END DINER (Bottom Dog Press, 2014), and OUR ONE-WAY STREET (NYQ Books, 2017) as well as five chapbooks, most recently Common Wages, which she co-authored with Don Winter. She received her MA in poetics from San Francisco State University. She currently lives with her family in New York's Hudson Valley. Author City: KINGSTON, NY USA