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By: Peter Schwartz
P.O. Box 767
Augusta, ME  04332
Price: $4.50 / 19 pages / 1 Poem

Review By: Charles P. Ries

Peter Schwartz walks the line between ethereal image and the everyday about as well as any poet writing in the small press. His new book, “My Novena” is a single poem that covers nine days in nineteen pages. The word novena is from the Latin word novem meaning nine. It is a process of hopeful mourning, of yearning and prayer which if conducted over nine consecutive days promises special graces. Schwartz embarks on his reflection and on day one notes that, “I swim without / meaning as my memory / tunes itself to the tides / becoming the net / it always was”.  And on day five: he comes into his own with the realization “to domesticate the distance / to acquaint flyspecks / with the celestial / because intimacy’s / its own habitat / a pleasant anarchy / seldom discussed”. Schwartz’s considerable talent at colliding the eloquent and common greatly elevated my experience with his reflections. “My Novena” no longer became just his prayer, but mine as well when on day four he notes, “I waver / from being somebody to nobody /so many time within the space / of a single hour that I really am / that person in between / the intermediate / the delegate / the agent and broker / to a condition / that can perhaps / be best summed up / as heartbroken”.  This is a very talented writer.

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews and poetry reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications. He has received four Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing.  He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory and five books of poetry. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot (, Pass Port Journal ( and ESC! ( He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore (  He is a  founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes (

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