Salt Runs in My Blood by Susan Schmidt
"'If They Came Our Way' (Owen prizewinner) moves steadily, authoritatively, all the while building a quiet intensity, right up to its stunning, unforced conclusion. Sounds interweave, setting up a texture that pulled me in right away. I admire this poem very much, its pacing, its lineation, its careful yet emotionally wrenching detail."
—Kathryn Stripling Byer
"Her eye for detail, her vision of the inner core of what she finds in Nature, her ideas as they come through imagery: Susan Schmidt can be a writer who matters."
"The opening line of Salt Runs in My Blood quotes a neighbor's advice: 'Remember where you come from.' Susan Schmidt takes this to heart, exploring deep roots in Virginia and North Carolina. She is an intrepid explorer, approaching adventures with curiosity and wonder. Rarely do we experience the natural world through the eyes of such a keen observer, who understands the search for identity begins in the waters at home. With this lovely book she earns our trust in her skill as a gifted poet and a guide down the twisting river of the soul."
"Susan Schmidt’s poetry is tidal, seasonal, evolutionary. Traveling by wind, muscle, and memory from the Chesapeake to the Camino de Santiago, she sings like a Silkie with a human heart—about risk, loss, and resilience. Songs of her father are personal and epic. She sights birds near extinction or already lost. Her poems consider both her own fate and the planet. Schmidt writes a true line that skims, like her boat, over the surface of time and place."
As sailboat captain, rower, flyfisher, gardener, and Quaker naturalist, Susan Schmidt writes poems about moving from dark into light as she plays in boats and walks long trails. Her poems in Salt Runs in My Blood describe bright parrots, big trout, gales at sea, glaciers, peach pie, old loves, Celtic ancestry, Civil War battlefields, and learning to navigate. As she observes birds, she learns her own survival strategies. She travels to New Zealand, Alaska, the West Indies, but stays South where she can name the trees and paddle year round. The book could have been called The Watery Part of the World.
Susan Schmidt's poems appear in Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina and won the Guy Owen Poetry Prize. As developmental editor, Susan polishes science and history books, novels, and memoirs—with the same mindfulness as pruning apple trees. She has worked as professor of literature and environmental decision-making, sailboat delivery captain, and government science-policy analyst. She has a doctorate in American literature and a Masters in Environmental Sciences.
To witness natural diversity, she walked the Camino de Santiago, Cornwall Coastal Path, Scotland Highlands, Ring of Kerry, and Appalachian Trail; surveyed birds in Kenya and Ecuador; paddled Prince William Sound and Milford Sound; and delivered sailboats to the West Indies. Her homeplace is the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and her homeport is Beaufort, North Carolina, where she walks beaches with her Boykin Spaniel.
Her new novel is Black Waters Black Waters. She wrote Landfall Along the Chesapeake, In the Wake of Captain John Smith (Johns Hopkins University Press), an ecological history and boat adventure.