Rebecca Schumejda's second full-length collection, Cadillac Men, explores the pool hall subculture before the economic downturn in 2008, when the narrator and her husband took a calculated risk and purchased a pool hall in downtown Kingston, New York. During their arduous planning, they did not consider that their business and livelihood would depend on men who threw pebbles in church collection plates, shot up in the bathroom, and had nicknames like Bobby-Balls-in-Hand, The Butcher, and Mikey Meatballs. Cadillac Men is a fractured poetic memoir about the year the narrator's husband chased his lifelong dream by starting Crazy Eights, and the recessions that occurred as her family, the economy, her health and The Cadillac Men all took downward spirals.
"Rebecca Schumejda, a poet who has already shown some considerable chops, has penned a breakthrough collection with Cadillac Men. With unflinching honesty, Becky has the unique ability to make this cast of debauched and indigent pool hustlers sympathetic without ever fishing for sentimentality. Cadillac Men is the poetic mosaic of an aborted American Dream, and like all good art, Becky brings to the forefront our collective humanity."
—Nathan Graziano, author of After the Honeymoon
"It has been my great honor to watch the evolution of Rebecca Schumejda's writing for nearly two decades now. What has always struck me about her work is the quiet beauty she infuses into every word. A dignity that comes from growing up with a little dirt under your fingernails.
The poems in this latest collection come at a price, there is a struggle here, not just the author's, but out there in the world, they take the reader beyond the pages. They are cool and deliberate, with a steady hand and a warm heart, they are the life we all live in one way or another, as sweet and painful as breathing, they are human, they are love songs for a working class culture that is sadly disappearing from our landscape. I adore this book as much as I do its author, which is to say a lot."
—John Dorsey, author of White Girl Problems: Poems & Stories
"Rebecca Schumejda has long been one of my favorite poets, and her new book Cadillac Men is her best yet. These poems are rendered beautifully and with a keen eye. It's refreshing to read a book of poems where the author has taken the time to observe the people around her with such uncanny insight and empathy. The stories and character portraits in Cadillac Men build upon each other to reveal a larger story—one not only of a struggling underclass, but of when we rest our hopes and dreams on one final gamble. It's the kind of book one reads all the way through like a good novel and then starts right back at the beginning. I really love this collection."
—Daniel Crocker, author of Like a Fish
"Rebecca Schumejda has written an amazing collection of poems that reads like a novel. A poet of place, she sets her writing in a neighborhood pool hall. Like an act out of the series Cheers, the players come in with their attitudes, their names (Mikey Meatball, Artistotle, Bobby Balls-In-Hand), their ruinous and marginal lives, and their game. They come to play pool, tell lies, fill the hours, and play it straight. It rains, it snows, and who can deny the beauty of Schumejda's version of snow: '…lonely women/disappearing quietly.' There is a strange love going on between all, never spoken out loud. It's impossible to select one line from this powerful, fascinating collection, but I chose: 'We are trying to collect what we can from what we lost.' If this collection doesn't garner its author wider recognition, I would be surprised."