Susan Schmidt

Let Go or Hold Fast




As sailboat captain, master gardener, and Quaker naturalist, Susan Schmidt celebrates neighbors in her small town, including dolphins, manatees, sharks, herons, egrets, butterflies, ants, bees, owl, turtle, possum, and bear. To give the planet strength to keep rolling, she says, “Make any creative:” she bakes bread, plants gardens, and plays bass fiddle. As she walks beaches, swims, paddles, rows, and sails in Beaufort, her poems comment on the new bridge, potholes, hanging laundry. The newest book of poems charts the damage, community recovery, and toxic aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Let Go or Hold Fast was awarded the inaugural Gail O’Day Poetry Prize from Library Partners Press. New Testament Scholar and mountain climber, O’Day was Dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She died in September.

As a developmental editor, Susan Schmidt polishes science and history books, novels, and memoirs. She leads a local writers’ critique group. She has had a Coast Guard Captain’s license thirty-six years. She wrote the grant to buy Carrot Island and Bird Shoal in Beaufort for the NC Estuarine Reserve. She has been a professor of literature and environmental decision-making, and a government science-policy analyst.


In “Tyranny of Small Decisions,” I applaud your tackling such an important political subject. The language, imagery, line breaks & shape of the poem are stellar. Your instincts are on target. It’s so heartbreakingly true. Hard-core evidence cannot be disputed. Trust your reader to read deeply. You know how to write a poem, strong and accessible.

—Joe Bathanti

Let Go or Hold Fast is a rare and engaged page-turner, a journey of passion, endurance, and self-perseverance.

—Phillip Shabazz

Buy the Book
Let Go or Hold Fast

Susan Schmidt, PhD (252) 269-0032


© 2012 Susan Schmidt. All Rights Reserved.

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