paul schroeder | privatization

14 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 58 | February 28, 2006

Rereading some of my own writers (people I’ve been fortunate to publish with ‘my own’ Cross+Roads Press the past 10 years), I am always proud of their work, what we’ve done, the look, feel, and history of their books.

I remember each book as a great time spent with a good friend, however long it may have taken, however easy or difficult it may have been. Rereading the work is reliving the experience all over again in a way, perhaps only a writer/publisher, can truly appreciate,. It’s also a confirmation: yes, this is good. I was right to put this in print.

Truthfully, I feel this way about every book, every writer. No regrets. Not one. Occasionally, I like to share these revisits with others out there, as I have been doing (and will continue to do) in the online columns, Poetry Dispatch and Notes from the Underground, as well both websites: and the new, Door County centered site,

Last night I reread the second CR+P chapbook I published, THE THOUGHT MUSEUM by Paul Schroeder from Maine and delighted again at one man’s poems which are somewhat of a cross between a poem and a miniature essay: Paul explains it himself in his introduction to the book. Here’s an excerpt:

I definitely don’t know what I’m going to write when I sit down to do it. If there is a form, it is probably related to getting one sentence to fit on one or two lines. This is a sort of prose with very short paragraphs. If anyone had the patience for it, I would suggest these be read with about a one minute pause between each cluster of lines. That’s about the speed they were written. As far as I know there is nothing to recommend this writing to anyone except that Norb Blei says it is “something different.”

I smiled when I came across that mention. I totally forgot about Paul’s wonderful intro. Reading it was a little like seeing him again, after 15…20 years? In reading Paul’s work I was also reminded that poets are sometimes prophets. Here’s “Privatization:”–from the same book, which was published in 1995.* Norbert Blei


Privatization by Paul Schroeder

The future is upon us:
it hit me like a rock.

Sam’s Club! Wal-Mart! Home Quarters!
I don’t shop there, I’m not a member.
It’s my choice to buy from local merchants,

Now I hear voices.

Sooo… Let us see
Are your papers in order…?

Sooo…Something seems to be missing here…
Your Sam’s Club card, please…

Kindly step this way.
We would like to look into that matter further.

will you please escort Mr. Schroeder…

from THE THOUGHT MUSEUM, Cross+Roads Press, 1995 *For the record: Paul’s book sold out in two months.




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