Saturday, February 15, 2003

Willa Schneberg

One reason why poetry is the least-read of all categories of writing, just slightly more popular than the public announcements in the classified section of the newspaper that begin: "Whereas, in the matter concerning the estate of so-and-so..." is because of a certain intrinsic density of verbiage. A good poet tries to have the most impact with the fewest words, so there are rarely explanations. The reader, like a juror, is responsible for drawing his own conclusions from the information presented, not always an easy task. Yet, like any other form of writing there is bias, point of view, attitude. Often, because of these factors and the life issues which poets choose to address, that attitude may be less than pleasant. Let's face it, we've all read depressing poetry, cynical poetry, angry poetry.

So, it is a great relief when we encounter the work of a poet who evokes optimism even when the subject matter includes themes of hate, war, poverty and oppression. The otherwise unpalatable bites of world and personal history we may digest willingly, when laced with a sauce of humor, wisdom and a rich, often erotic sensuality.

Willa’s work has been welcomed by many well-recognized literary journals including The Exquisite Corpse, American Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and Southern Poetry Review. She has won two Oregon Literary Fellowships, a grant in poetry from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and other awards. She has worked as an art therapist in Israel and as an election official and medical liaison officer in Cambodia. Her first book of poetry, Box Poems, was published by Alice James Books. She is also a photographer, clay sculptor and social worker in private practice.

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