“...Rebecca Schumejda’s debut volume Falling Forward follows in the tradition of confessional poets, though its autobiographical content remains modulated by skillful crafting. A singular, assured persona emerges in the book, a grim interrogation of the vicissitudes of marriage and motherhood. ... With her unblinking look at life’s most intimate moments, Schumejda is a courageous new poet."
"Ultimately, the reader is left with the last poem as an answer to all the problems within. 'Falling Forward' is an apt description of the lives of Schumejda’s characters. They don’t so much move through time as stumble, trying to keep their feet in an uneven world. But '[w]hen the truth is too heavy…[t]here’s no way to avoid failure,' says the narrator. This is the very essence, the underlying motif of each poem, that the only thing you can do is 'just lean forward / let your knees cushion your fall.' ... Very much recommended."
—Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
"Even in failure, one can still succeed. "Falling Forward" is a collection of poetry from Rebecca Schumejda, whose verse comes at readers in a positive way. Be it a lesson from mistakes, or simply small practice in a skill, her verse is reassuring and charming. "Falling Forward" is as inspirational as it is entertaining. "Five Ripe Tomatoes": Last night/five ripe tomatoes/disappeared/from our backyard.//The night before/two green peppers;/before that/one eggplant.//During dinner/we fork lettuce and onions suspiciously/as we discuss karma/as a consequence.//While washing dishes/I look out the kitchen window to see you/tying string/around the back gate - /a warning to let the intruders know/we are onto them."
—Midwest Book Review
"Rebecca Schumejda is a valuable assest to the small press and to modern poetry. Her words are raw and truthful and she is never afraid to turn the mirror on herself and get the truth in return. Her work is emotional without being sappy and her language causes chemical reactions in the brain that make one think about how the transgressions of our lives give us character and ultimately make us exactly who we are meant to be. You need this book on your shelf, in your backpack, in your hand."
—Full of Crow
“Falling Forward’s poems about loss and longing are wildly human, almost frightening in their honesty. The poetry grabs hold and doesn’t let go, shows a great, big world we are all a part of, reminds us that sooner or later we all fall forward, that life drops us to our knees. To suffer, to mourn—to pray. Open this book. Rebecca Schumejda is a poet that simply must be read.”
—Patrick Carrington, poetry editor of Mannequin Envy
“These poems are not pretty, but cut close to bone and root and come from that singular place of clear attention as she courageously probes and, when appropriate, traverses the short and long distances between wife and husband, sister and brother, daughter and father. Each and every one is well-observed and painfully honest.”
—Phillip Levine, poetry editor of Chronogram Magazine
“Schumejda’s poems explore both human relationships and their affect on the human condition in a brilliantly observed and precise manner. The collection is so deeply absorbing you won’t even notice that you’ve already leaned too far forward and that her poems have cushioned your fall.”
—Anhvu Buchanan, poetry editor of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review
In Falling Forward, her first full-length collection, Schumejda dissects human shortcomings with the admission that often “the truth is too heavy, folded like two hands in prayer, filled with weeds and regrets.” While illustrating the perseverance of the human spirit and showing that “falling forward” is still forward progress, these poems invite you to indulge in the familiar threads that tie lives together.
Partial transcription from 2/17/09 interview on Poet to Poet / Writer to Writer