Poetry to quiet the nerves during a busy time


Published poet Tracey Schmidt and her musical collaborators will offer a quiet space in the holiday hubbub with “A Night of Poetry and Remembrance” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28 at White Horse Black Mountain. Tickets are $10 advance/$12 door.

“We live in a stressful time; poetry is one of the antidotes to that stress,” Schmidt said. “It allows us to breath deeply, slow down, and reflect on what matters. Poetry and music are a perfect combination.”

Schmidt will present readings from revered Persian poets Rumi and Hafiz, as well as her own work. The verse will be accompanied by music by guitarist Michael Ivy, Elon DeHaro on kemancheh (a classical Persian spike fiddle), tabla player Allen Rhoda and Scott Sheerin on flute.

An Augusta, Georgia native, Schmidt like many other creative people has found a home in the North Carolina mountains. A photographer as well as a poet, she has had work published in several collections and in a full-length book, “I Have Fallen in Love with the World.”

Schmidt has recorded her own poems and those of other writers with world-class players River Guerguerian and Mariam Matossian on the CD project “Returning Home.” She continues to tour the Southeast and abroad with various musicians.

Her own poetry has been profoundly influenced by her immersion in the works of Rumi and Hafez. Despite the distance in time, language and culture, the universality of 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi’s verse is attested to by the fact that he’s consistently one of the most read poets in the United States.

Hafiz’s poetry, at first encounter, seems earthier - the pleasures of love and wine being favorite subjects - but it can be rewardingly read on many levels. Both poets’ work have been set to music many times, with Schmidt and friends joining that proud tradition.

“I work by memory, inspired by the great late Maya Angelou who felt poetry should be learned by heart in order to really serve the poet and the audience,” Schmidt said. “I began by memorizing the work of the 13th century Persian poet Hafiz, who is one of the most widely read poets in the world. His work lead me to the Turkish poet Rumi.

“Both of these poets are considered mystical; they straddle the worlds of both the spiritual and the mundane in a way that marries them seamlessly. I love to perform their work for contemporary audiences.”

Building a Shrine

My life so far

Has been like

Trying to put a very large love

Through a pinhole.

I have tried to make myself

Small enough to fit into this world,

But finally the shell has rent in two-

And the shrine of my being has emerged.

We are guided home on an invisible thread-

One day the distance between our self and the hole



And then the love fits perfectly.

There is so much work to do in this world

When we could simply choose

To be estastically happy.

To take rocks and driftwood and build an altar

To all that is good inside of us-

And to set our one shining life

On fire.

- Tracey Schmidt