Critical Commentary

“These are the poems of a hooch-swilling layabout, shifty-eyed sneak thief, disagreeable cuss—in short, good work, but he scares my kids. That shaved head and Satanic goatee? The yelling about the government?”
—Aaron Anstett, author of Each Place the Body’s and No Accident

“The poems in Steven D. Schroeder’s debut collection are not for the faint of heart. I mean this as the most serious of warnings. Upon reading them, you may find yourself locked in a cloakroom with nothing but his pages and a musty parka between you. Even if you resist, you may still dream, nightly, of absconding to Times Square with the author, frolicking in the orange light and snapping pictures. Buy three copies: one for the bookshelf, one to hide under your pillow, and one to keep close to your body at all times.”
—Mary Biddinger, author of Prairie Fever, editor of Barn Owl Review

“The poems in Torched Verse Ends revel in the interconnections between humans and our place—real or imagined—in the world. So it is fitting that the poems shift locations with the personalities of the speaker. Some poems wisecrack their way through Matt Groening’s Springfield. Others speak to us from Robotland, in the ‘error error error’ of metallic vernacular.  Still others employ more somber diction: Colorado as seen by forest firelight, the road somewhere in the flat between Colorado and Kansas. Regardless of place, Steve Schroeder’s poems move us forward toward the hills and rivers where the ‘Earth’s curve intensifies downhill.’ The poems keep us safe in their own geography.”
—Adrian Matejka, author of Mixology and The Devil’s Garden

“In Torched Verse Ends, Steven D. Schroeder pulls poetry out of its too-small boxes and scatters it all over the room.  One poem imitates form, the next mocks mental health surveys, and the herky-jerky music mixes high diction and slang, pop culture and wordplay, solemn hymns to nature and geeky robotic laws.  Why deny lines like ‘Nature is a MILF’ or ‘Artificial plants inhaled oxygen, exhaled chlorofluorocarbons’ or ‘Your lips could suck the gin from juniper’?   Schroeder is a serious poet, whether the poem is sad, surreal, or just plain silly.”
—Richard Newman, author of Borrowed Towns, editor of River Styx