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Border Crossing
by Amy Schmitz
42 poems, 69 pages
Price $15.00
ISBN 978-09909082-4-1
Publisher: National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press
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Border Crossings was inspired by the author's years of Peace Corps service in Cape Verde.
The book develops the implications of systemic warfare, poverty and government
dysfunction, upon the lives of people. Schmitz puts the reader in the action. Her poems
paint compelling portraits of war and hardship and what happens when these become
constants on the human landscape. Just as the book examines borders, it also explores the
crossings called forth by the ever-hopeful human spirit. Schmitz shows how both people
and conflict are shaped by the places in which they exist. Border Crossings is not
restricted to the Peace Corp or to Africa. Schmitz's work inhabits the places where you
and I live.


In these poems, because we are asked to cross so many borders, both physical and
emotional, we begin to evolve or mutate, and our interactions with place shift, as
our expectations for the ways in which setting is operating in these poems. The
transformation continues until eventually one is no longer able to distinguish between
the fear that inhabited the war-torn spaces of the past from the hope that is directing the
speaker and the reader into the unsteady peace of the present and the beckoning potential
of the future. Schmitz’s poems sing out with this potential in order to create an entirely
new landscape that, as readers, we can’t help but take great pleasure in inhabiting.
—Erin Belieu, Professor of Creative Writing and Poetry,
Florida State University

Judge’s notes on the 2017 winning manuscript of the National Federation
of State Poetry Societies Stevens Manuscript Competition


Originally from Buffalo, New York, and Fairfax, Virginia, Amy Schmitz now lives in
San Diego, California, and works in Tuscon, Arizona. Her work has been published in
Quiddity, High Plains Literary Review, Sugar House Review, Kestrel, Borderlands:
Texas Literary Review, Louisiana Review, Askew, Poetry International, and elsewhere.
She has won awards from Poetry International,
the Women’s National Book
Association, and the Syracuse chapter of the National League of American Pen Women.
A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she holds an MFA from George Mason University.


The Night a Woman Died on My Street
by Amy Schmitz

I wished we were made of something different,
something unleashed, like soil
layered with guano and made fertile
into another season.

Or limestone caves wet and breathing
honeycomb-carved, by salt water's
slow precipitation, or salt water
deposited at the mouth of the mineral spring.

Or upwellings blown shoreward
gifting plankton to sunfish to
fishermen, or plankton
that drift lightly across oceans.

Or waves that angle
through space until, just below
the horizon line, they break
into new day.

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