Steven Schneider is an extraordinary poet. Each of the poems in this collection is crafted with inspiration, dedication and a skill that exemplifies the best of contemporary poetry. Unexpected Guests is a powerful and beautifully written book that explores the meaning of faith, remembrance and creativity.
-Marjorie Agosín, author of Dear Anne Frank and Always from Somewhere Else
Is it any coincidence that in Unexpected Guests Steven Schneider-whose surname means "tailor"-dresses his poems to fit a variety of roles: husband, father, historian, traveler, spiritual seeker, aesthete, lover of the natural world? Wherever he wanders-be it Nebraska prairie, Texas-Mexico border, or Biblical times-he relates his desire to be rooted, truly at home, employing a voice that's plain-spoken and calm, a welcoming voice that gets out of the way of its subjects, so as to ease our way into them.
-Thomas Centolella, author of Terra Firma and Lights and Mysteries
Steven Schneider's poetry is deeply informed by Jewish philosophy, history and art and is also deeply multicultural as his speaker interacts and learns from a wide range of representatives from other cultures. Through the cultural cross-currents and Biblical resonances, he writes poetry that encompasses ancient and modern history and culture in a deeply personal idiom. In one poem, the author has a chance meeting on the prairie with a group of Hasidic Jews. In another, he whimsically connects his experience of Nebraska to ultra-urbane stylings of Frank O'Hara. It is an outstanding collection of poetry, one that readers will both learn from and enjoy.
-Daniel Morris, author of Bryce Passage and Remarkable Modernisms
Unexpected Guests is a collection of poems notable for the quiet intensity of its language as well as its sweeping engagement with place and history. I am deeply engaged by the voice throughout this collection, at once playful and serious, attuned to the world and its occasions of wonder and loss, as well as to Schneider's desire for something more enduring than the world's ephemera. Unexpected Guests is full of clear, urgent poems, sensitive to the threats of violence and terror that characterize our times as well as an abiding sense of wonder at the ordinary miracles in the natural world.
-Daniel Tobin, author of The Narrows and Where the World Is Made