Meet Your June 2013 Breadline Feature: Benjamin Schmitt

1. June is often considered a seasonally transitional high point. How do you plan on making and/or recognizing the month of June as a space of transition for yourself and your art?
My first book has been published and while I am busy promoting that I have also begun working on a new book of poems.
2. How much wood can you chuck?
Just enough to power this time machine.
3. When you think of “summer,” what inspiration arrives?
I think of the promise of summer and also the brevity. So many summers that transformed me on a personal and artistic level. Relationships that formed or collapsed, events I participated in, struggles and triumphs I endured, all of them shrouded in this lazy glow of laughter. A season that seems like it could never possibly end but when you open your eyes it’s October.
4. The poet faces the god and has one thing to say. What is it?
Do you have a light? 
5. If you have been to the summit of Mt. Rainier, what words did you speak on it? And if you have not but imagine being there, what words would you speak on it?
I would dance and sing “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira on the summit.
6. There is the tactile window. There is the digital screen window. What is the next window?
An empathy window that allows us to truly feel what another human being feels by perceiving time and space through the window of their vision.
7. What is your favorite bird? What is your favorite bird to eat?
Chicken, always chicken.
8. Tell us about your favorite road trip in America.
Twice in my life I have traveled across the country on Greyhound buses. The first time I went to New York City a few months after the September 11thattacks. The second time I visited a friend in Philadelphia in 2007. While neither of these were among the most comfortable trips I have taken they were definitely two of the most important. Some of the people I met were truly amazing, some were truly frightening, and the rest were a result of the failures of our country’s many institutions now forced to wait for hours in bus stations while the fortunate flew from city to city high above us, untouched by our poverty. I also realized that North Dakota must exist in some kind of limbo since it’s scenery never changes and that New Jersey is oddly beautiful.
9. How will we know it is you the night of Breadline?
To quote Walt Whitman: “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world”
10. Give us a link to something on the Internet we should explore, investigate, or abandon.
This is one of the strangest Wikipedia articles I have ever read:
Benjamin Schmitt’s poetry has been published in Pearl, Otis Nebula, Splash of Red, The Write Place at the Right Time, The Pacific Review, Solo Novo, The Chaffey Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife. His first book is entitled The global conspiracy to get you in bed.

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