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How I Became an Historian, Poems by Penelope Scambly Schott

In How I Became an Historian, Penelope Scambly Schott delves through the archives of memory and experience, crafting poems notable for their precise narratives and sharp evocation of feeling.

Sample Poems by Penelope Schott

“In her collection How I Became an Historian, Penelope Scambly Schott’s child self asks, ‘How could I learn about history // as everything got farther away?’ Ah, by studying the long view out the back of this speeding Buick. Schott’s sinewy, strange, and marvelous poems, full of well-honed lines and surprising turns, are a rear window on the great highway of human will and weakness. Here is a remarkable poet at the height of her powers, celebrating perspective, learning and teaching gratitude and bravery out of a sometimes cold and incriminating, sometimes terrifying past. ‘I am seventy / and afraid of nothing,’ Schott writes. And: ‘On this page, / no one is more welcome than you.’”—Kathleen Flenniken, Poet Laureate of Washington state and author of Plume

“Something of Diane Wakoski’s comedic genius, something of Sylvia Plath’s poetic rage, something of Dylan Thomas’ profound vision - Penelope Schott’s splendid book, How I Became an Historian, wins its place in distinguished company.”—Ralph Salisbury, author of Like the Sun in Storm, Light from a Bullet Hole and So Far, So Good

“It’s ‘a lucky woman [who] has no thirsts / deeper than the cup of her two hands,’ writes Penelope Scambly Schott in this rich collection, the poet’s 16th. But who has such lack of thirsts? In How I Became an Historian, Schott not only reveals her desires; she also confesses selfishness, envy, anger, cruelty, and guilt. In straightforward language and with literary acumen, Schott embraces all aspects of being human and forgives herself nothing. But the book is not about her. It is about all of us and spoken by a poet of great compassion. Good poems tell us something about the poet; great ones tell us something about ourselves. ‘We all have our mouths wide open,’ she writes, ‘and some of us sing.’ How fortunate we are that this poet sings.”—Andrea Hollander, author of Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982 – 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1625490957, 102 pages

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Also by Penelope Scambly Schott:

The Pest Maiden: A Story of Lobotomy

A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Troubles the Commonwealth

House of the Cardamom Seed

On Dufur Hill

Waving Fly Swatters at Angels