Barbara Schmitz


Always the Detail
In these frank, open-hearted, sometimes very nicely funny poems, we are given many glimpses of a fully lived life. Barbara Schmitz moves with ease among the many elements that make up the world she values; her emotional directness pleases, her honesty reaches into us, her sometimes even ecstatic casualness surprises. "The blooms on the dahlias are holding back. / Don't they know withholding love's / the only sin to be punished in eternity. / Burst open! Be wanton! Don't wait!" Such a clear readable poet; such a fresh presence among us.
Michael Dennis Browne

Path of Lightning: A Seeker's Jagged Journey
Author and poet Barbara Schmitz offers a heartfull, funny, and deeply moving "spiritual autobiography" that brings the reader along on each stage of her fervent inner quest for mystical experience. Beginning with a Catholic girlhood in Nebraska, she graduates to an unlikely apprenticeship with Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute; a dedicated transcendental meditation practice; and finally to thirty years of joys and struggles with a Sufi teacher (Shahabuddin Less with whom she travels to Bali, Turkey, India, Kashmir, and the Holy Land.
Incisive as lightning-the meaning of her Sufi name, Vajra-her questions and yearnings are our own, and she doesn't let God, her teacher, or herself off the hook.

What Bob Says
Bob may seem impossible to anyone who doesn't love him. He's opinionated, eccentric, loud, and argumentative. And yet he's also caring, generous, funny, creative, spiritual, intelligent, helpful, enthusiastic, energetic-and often maddening in more ways than one can name. By the end of this chapbook, Bob has become as real as your crazy uncle, It takes all kinds to make a successful marriage.
Phil Wagner Editor of Iconoclast

How Much Our Dancing Has Improved
“Barbara has a huge mind—it took her a long time on her own arduous path to capture its extent from ground to heaven. But never fear, she was Midwesterner—she stubbornly continued until the paper reflected her true self... she launched a rocket all the way to eternity.”
--Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones on Barbara Schmitz in Thunder and Lightning.

Winner of 2005 Nebraska Center for the Book Poetry Award

How to Get Out of the Body
“These are tough, seasoned, well-grounded poems from a poet who has earned her authority by grounding herself in the reality of her language, subject matter, and craft.”
--David Lee, Poet Laureate of Utah.

“The poems in this book are about her parents’ aging and dying, but on a deeper level, they are also about seeking release from the body’s limits.” “. . . how we relate to the world around us, what are lives mean, what will happen when we die.”
--Diane Blinn

The Upside Down Heart
In April 2002 Sufi Murshid Shahabuddin David Less and a small group of students journeyed to Jerusalem and other parts of Israel to meet with spiritually-based peace workers to pray and to dance for peace. This book is a collection of events, people (Israeli and Palestinian), and responses to the suffering and joy of the war-torn land.

Selected Works

A deep drink of human joy and sorrow. Songs of Living Aware, richly.
"By the end of this chapbook, Bob has become as real as your crazy uncle.
--Phil Wagner
“Barbara Schmitz is the Lucinda Williams of the poetry world.”
--Paul Zarzyski
“. . . chillingly honest. Schmitz is a courageous poet. She tells us the truth.”
--Greg Kuzma
Intense narrative poems about poet’s pilgrimage to Israel
"Schmitz endeavors to understand 'the mystery and beauty of being alive.' I name her the Queen of Constancy for her devotion to meditation and never letting up of giving up on her spiritual journey. Enjoy the rich trip."
-- Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones