Clemens Carl Schoenebeck has had poems published in the Aurorean, Caribbean Writer, Ibbetson Street Press, Midwest Poetry Review, Small Brushes/Adept Press and other publications. Three of his poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. He and his daughter Kristen were named featured poets of Aurorean’s December issue in 2000. (cont.)
His short stories have won various prizes in Writer’s World, and Marblehead Festival of Arts. In 2012, he won the poetry and fiction categories. His winning poem was selected for The Marcia Doehner Award, and his short story was awarded the first Georgette Beck Award. His memoir, Dancing with Fireflies, is a story of his family living through the darkness and light of his mother’s schizophrenia, and how poetry brought hope and healing. Schoenebeck lives on the North Shore of Boston with his wife, Bonnie. His daughter’s family lives nearby.
Claire Keyes, Professor Emerita of English, Salem State University, and author of What Diamonds Can Do, writes:
Think of Clem Schoenebeck as the music man, his poems inviting us to see possibilities of joy in the everyday, be it garden flowers or the Brahms Requiem, a brilliant sunset or the sterling qualities of a friend. Better yet, be his friend so he can write a poem about you and say such things as he is “familiar with his own clouds,” thus “he seeks available light.” Where the Time Went is actually the Collected Poems of Clem Schoenebeck. There is abundance here enough for three or four ordinary books of poems. Clem gives us a turtle that “hauls his own darkness” and a sunset in which “the outgoing tide” is “a rippling wash of wine.” He describes “The Care of Hardwood Floors” in such loving detail you want to drop to your knees and get to it! To read these poems is to feel a sense of expansion: there’s so much to life. Songs to sing, children to nurture, family and friends to embrace, the natural world in all its manifestations. Clem Schoenebeck’s poems sound their music to all of it.
Dennis Must, author of several story collections and novels including the forthcoming Brother Carnival writes:
“The poet is the priest of the invisible.” Wallace Stevens
Reading the poems in Where the Time Went, I can think of no greater tribute than for Clemens Carl Schoenebeck to be called a “priest of the invisible.” Witness “Alles in Ordnug,” where sons are reassuring their father as he takes his final breaths that “everything is fine…”
His good night was hushed in sleep
of the pale hours, when the air is still
And the darkness knows everything.
This tercet’s summation, “And the darkness knows everything,” is the poet’s ineluctable refrain of a sublime liturgy.
I am especially drawn to the “FAMILY” selection, exemplified by the starkly memorable “Vespers” in which the poet, as a boy, recalls accompanying his father to the state hospital for the mentally ill “to visit my mother in her Purgatorial Home”…
as the early winter sun diminished,
a murmuring chorus of unrest replenished
the dark energy of my mother’s residence.
Invisible soloists sing a song of sadness.
The undirected choir hums the music of madness.
These lines are sung by the poet who understands that only the passage of time instructs the catechism of one’s heart.
There are poems in Where the Time Went that will linger in your consciousness long after being read…and some will never leave.
Clemens Schoenebeck’s magnificent collection of poetry in WHERE THE TIME WENT: POEMS AT 80 lingers long after the last word of this extraordinary collection has been read or heard. The book is, indeed a song, sung by a poet who understands the beauty of words and images, as well as notes and sounds. It is a book meant often to be read aloud so its true beauty can be appreciated. One particular poem, FLIGHT RISK, has captured my attention multiple times as I read it often, curious to know more about the mysterious Tommy, grateful for what I have been told. One reading is simply not enough. I will return often and joyfully to this stunning collection and its words of joy and sorrow, of light and darkness, of heartbreak and love. The author may be 80, but I look forward to many more words to be cherished by this superb poet.