Steven D. Schroeder’s first book was Torched Verse Ends. His poetry is available from New England Review, Pleiades, Verse, Indiana Review, The Journal, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, Drunken Boat, The Collagist, The Rumpus, and Verse Daily. Pieces have also appeared by invitation in city parks, public transportation, and business waiting rooms. He edits the online poetry journal Anti-, serves as a contributing editor for River Styx, and works as a Certified Professional Résumé Writer. In high school, he wrote an epic, unfinished fantasy novel during AP Calculus, including maps, bestiaries, and a history of the world. A Colorado kid at heart, he now lives in St. Louis.
In The Royal Nonesuch, Steven Schroeder shows the art of the scam—in gambling, cynicism, piracy, into the brink and out of love—but, like Mark Twain, he knows a trickster’s act plumbs the very real loneliness of modern society. Beneath this shield of doublespeak beats a wounded heart. In “Each One Goes Alone,” the speaker reflects “When you pick a new city for foliage and brick / in promotional photos, the baggage follows.” Working in the interstices of titles taken from literature, pop culture, even Nintendo, each poem jousts with our expectations. “I’ve Had a Perfectly Wonderful Evening” breaks down the code to “If by evening you mean overflowing crockpot,” while the poem “No Hope Except in Arms” announces “This fighter jet is part of a complete breakfast” and “This gun wants to tuck your kids into bed.” Don’t try to take on this smart, perverse collection all at once. Sample it like a neat gin; let it burn on the way down.
—Sandra Beasley, author of I Was the Jukebox & Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl
Steven D. Schroeder is a DJ and a pomo Sonneteer. His poems “swim the English/language.” Text lifted from literature and pop culture is sampled, recast. His riffing is catholic and quirky. Nirvana, Harryette Mullen, Laozi, and Patton Oswalt. His thirteen-line sonnets are sonic-rich, but most impressively, elastic. Black humor, tenderness, world-and-word weariness, capitalism, awe, our peculiar American moment are sampled, recast again and again. In these sonnets “cash makes you fun” and “summer fits in an ice chest.” Schroeder’s attentiveness to language is playful and thrilling.
—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning
In Steven D. Schroeder’s remarkable second book, The Royal Nonesuch, “Everything is falling up or sideways.” The miraculous cavorts in the attic while the endlessly possible rolls on and on in the dots of loaded dice. Ever present among the springs of Schroeder’s lyrical language play are the assemblages of his literary legacy. A line from a beloved book triggers a flirtation. A sentence blossoms into a map to stolen gold. And with the striking of a match, the gears of Steven D. Schroeder’s Rube Goldberg machine turn in their glass box. The lights blink and creaking wheels spool into beautiful sounds. The Royal Nonesuch is an exquisite joy.
—Oliver de la Paz, author of Requiem for the Orchard & Furious Lullaby
As fractured as our times, but critical of fracture, not simply agreeing to it, the poems of The Royal Nonesuch press against their own concerns. “You could hear we’re post-apocalyptic” the book begins, and even so, we continue our lives, our various concerns, common as theft (as all the titles of this book are “stolen”), but true as any other life. We need directions, both “how to” and “which way.” It’s an enjoyable read, even through all the disasters, all the chain stores and root canals Steven Schroeder takes us down, because at the center, this is a book that enjoys life. There’s a cleverness that sounds an awful lot like hope weaving though these poems, where just because “you can’t prevent this ragdoll fall,” doesn’t mean anyone here’s giving up. And just because we’re at “another false summit” doesn’t mean all summits are false. Or maybe it does. Maybe they both do. That’s part of the question too, as every assertion twists with its opposing force, and all final thoughts are simply another station along the way. “So we offered our testimonies to the best / of your recollection” Schroeder writes, but your recollection “pled the fifth / that hid behind the Pledge and Drano bottles.”
—John Gallaher, author of Map of the Folded World, editor of The Laurel Review