Lawrence Schimel

Lawrence Schimel writes in both Spanish and English and has published over 100 books in many different genres–including fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and comics–and for both children and adults. He is the author of one poetry collection in Spanish, Desayuno en la cama (Egales) and two in English, Fairy Tales for Writers and Deleted Names (both A Midsummer Night’s Press).

His picture book No hay nada como el original (Destino) was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for the White Ravens 2005 and his picture books ¿Lees un libro conmigo? (Panamericana) and Igual que ellos/Just Like Them (Ediciones del Viento) were selected by IBBY for Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities in 2007 and 2013 respectively. He has also won the Lambda Literary Award (twice), the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Spectrum Award, and other honors.

His writings have been translated into Basque, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

In addition to his own writing, he is a prolific literary translator. Poets he has translated into English include: Elsa Cross, Luis Armenta Malpica, Yolanda Castaño, Alí Calderón, Mijail Lamas, Jordi Doce, Care Santos, Jorge Humberto Chávez, Miguel Maldonado, Luis Aguilar, Jeannette L. Clariond, Vicente Molina Foix, Jenaro Talens, Gabriela Cantú Westendarp,
Karmelo C. Iribarren, Sofía Rhei, Ángel, Erro, Estíbaliz Espinosa, etc.

Poets he has translated into Spanish include Kätlin Kaldmaa (Estonia), Arvis Viguls (Latvia) and Karlis Verdins (Latvia).

A sample of his poems in English or Spanish (with English translation):

Fairy Tales for Writers: The Little Mermaid

by Lawrence Schimel

She gave up her voice for him,
learning to mimic the minimalist style
he advocated in his workshops.

They had met at a conference.
He was one of the guest lecturers,
and all during his talk about passion
and craft, he kept his eyes on her.

In the one-on-one discussion of her work,
he complimented her form
and said she showed tremendous promise.
The things he could show her…
His deep-timbred voice was full of assurances
and innuendo, and she succumbed to both.

She slaved to scrape together
enough money to join the MFA
where he taught, working double shifts
as a waitress that sent sharp pains
shooting up her legs from being on her feet
all day and night. She had no time to write.
But she bore it all silently, buoyed by the memory
of their time together at the conference,
and the promise the future held.

At the cocktail party, the night before
the first day of classes, where the students were
to meet and mingle with the faculty and each other,
he introduced her to his wife,
who had also once aspired to write, but now
was content to remain in his shadow,
to be seen on his arm when he won awards and
to look the other way when he followed
his wandering eye.

####

Fairy Tales for Writers: Sleeping Beauty
by Lawrence Schimel

There are many who yearn to be frozen
while their youth is at its peak,
to stretch out that ephemeral time
into a hundred years or more.

There are others who seem not to discover themselves
until late in life, following sundry other paths
until they stumble upon a true vocation, such as writing.
We call them sleeping beauties, these authors
who blossom in a later season, their measured, mature prose
a welcome antidote to the youthful brouhaha
that’s all the rage in the marketplace these days.

But far too many are the true sleeping beauties,
who at a tender age find a harsh critic
who belittles their talent and their fantasies
with a verbal barb sharper than the nib of any fountain pen
that silences the stories, poems, daydreams
they might have written.

Be it from parent or teacher, sibling or spouse,
just one tiny prick of criticism is all it takes sometimes
to put a burgeoning writer to sleep
for a hundred years,
for a lifetime,
for so long that no princes are left
to hack through the brambles,
or if one is, he can’t imagine that he should bother.

####

Metonimia
by Lawrence Schimel

Ya no me acuerdo de la cita exacta,
aunque sé de que libro viene.

Rebusco por toda la casa pero
no lo encuentro. Y de repente me acuerdo

de que cuando dividimos nuestras vidas,
nuestros libros, dejé que te lo llevases. No hay

ningún hueco en la estantería,
otros libros han ocupado su lugar.

Otros hombres han ocupado tu lugar
en mi cama. Pero la ausencia de ese libro

que compartíamos alguna vez, que leímos
los dos ese verano que nos conocimos,

abre de nuevo un vacío dentro de mí,
incluso ahora, tantos años después.

####

Metonomy
by Lawrence Schimel
translated by the author into English

I no longer recall the exact phase,
but I remember what book it’s from.

I search the entire house but
don’t find it. And suddenly I recall

that when we divided our lives,
our books, I let you take it. There is

no gap on the shelves,
other books have filled its space.

Other men have filled your space
in my bed. but the absence of that book

that we once shared, that we both
read that summer we met,

opens anew an emptiness inside me,
even now, so many years later.

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