by AMELIA WEDEMEYER
According to Steve Schild, it’s the Norwegian in him that accounts for his humble attitude when asked about his poetry. “I’m always very well aware that I’m not any big deal,” he said in reference to his talents as a poet. “I have no delusions as to where I stand.” And while the Winona resident says it’s “a little high-falootin” to consider himself an actual poet, there are many others who would quickly disagree.
Schild’s book of poetry, “Eros in Autumn,” was recently honored as a finalist and silver medalist in poetry at the Midwest Book Awards from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. “I was surprised,” he said. “It was a pleasant surprise.” Published through the Tom Driscoll’s Shipwreckt Books Publishing Company in Lanesboro, “Eros in Autumn” is a collection of poems that involve everything from nature, to growing old, to a waitress at Winona's China Buffet. “I didn’t set out to write this book, but I had a number of poems that I thought were roughly in the same vein,” he explained. “I put them together and I was going to self-publish, but then got in contact with Tom Driscoll.”
“It’s fabulous. As the publisher I worked closely with Steve and I have great admiration for him as a poet,” Driscoll said. “I think the award really demonstrates that he is a very good writer.”
Many of Schild’s “Eros in Autumn” poems are short in nature and follow the Japanese poetry style of haiku, which consists of three stanzas that follow a syllable pattern of five-seven-five. “I like the haiku form, but I don’t know if these are real haiku,” he said, explaining that most traditional haikus are about nature and do not rhyme, both of which are poetic devices that Schild sometimes employs. “I like the discipline of the form,” he added. “I think something that is short has a chance to deliver more of an impact if it’s well done — and that’s up to the reader to decide.”
While simple in subject, Schild’s poetry is written in a thoughtful tone that adds open-ended complexity to choice words, which touch upon a plethora of feelings, such as the frustration of being a Twins fan (“Baseball Fan Bitter about the Strike Year”) and the distant grief that comes from reading obituaries (“Skimming the Obits”). “People have said that all poetry [is either] about love or death,” Schild explained, noting that all of his poems in “Eros in Autumn” have something to do with “an aspect of that, or, [if not] love or death, on the way to either of them.”
Schild, who has been writing poetry for what he believes is close to 40 years, believes that his poems in “Eros of Autumn” span a 30-year period, and are a way for him to respond to the daily activities and events in his life. “I think poetry is a way of responding to the world, or trying to process information,” he explained. “I don’t know if I ever had any objective — it’s just something that I do sometimes.” Schild said that he hopes to publish another poetry compilation in the future, but has no big plans to share with people, including his fellow Winona Area Public Schools Board members. From time-to-time he has his wife Margaret look at his poems, but it’s his two sons with whom he shares the most. “Both of my boys are good writers,” Schild said. His younger son, Sam, 19, writes poetry, while Jake, 24, writes songs. “I think he’s a good lyricist,” he added.
For Schild, poetry and the arts have always had great value to him. “I think there is so much good poetry that is being written,” he said. “I think it is very much like music, in a sense that there are a lot of people that are very good at it in a sense that will never be acknowledged or known.” And for that reason alone, the man too humble to defend his own poetic talent, deserves all the recognition he receives.
Shipwreckt Books Publishing Company
Driscoll’s independent publishing company works with a variety of authors, poets and writers. The company recently released an issue of its Lost Lake Folk Opera Magazine dedicated to the 40 years since the Fall of Saigon. In the “Black April” issue there are short fiction stories and essays, poetry, book reviews, historical accounts and more included. “I look for high quality journalism and literature and I’m finding it,” Driscoll said.
To learn more about Shipwreckt Books or “Eros in Autumn,” visit www.shipwrecktbooks.com/.