And Then Something Happened
And then something happened is divided into four main parts. The first, “The Philosopher’s Child,” is composed of short and long poems that address issues of childhood, memory, and prospective loss. The language of this section, as of the next, “Addenda,” is philosophical and poetic. “Addenda” forms an extended reaction to the poet’s visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, where she wondered, at one instance, how children might respond to the horrors contained in the museum-space. “Material Lyrics” shifts form, containing prose poems that examine the aftermath of the poet’s adoption of her son Sangha from Cambodia (a country devastated by the United States during the Vietnam War) as well as meditations on “the political in the personal” and on the act of writing poetry. The final section, “And then Something Happened,” was written in London in autumn, 2002, when war was in the air, but not yet fact. This long poem, composed both of poetry and prose, thinks through the pre-war atmosphere, using language from politics and from the poet’s son, his stories and his songs. Written over an extended period the book focusses on the rough and joyous terrain of childhood.
‘Susan Schultz’s morphing metaphors hurl us through the dizziest landscapes, and dazzle us with their philosophical wizardry, their cross-cultural acrobatics. Her prose poems thrive on a poetics of adoption, an ethics of the domestic, politics as hybridity.’ —Hazel Smith
‘Susan Schultz asks ‘if language is at the center of the poem, what inhabits the periphery?’ Interrogating fundamental conditions of culture, language, kinship and family, these poems dis-cover the edges of assumed myths and false histories, re-mapping the so-called natural world on to the real one, the world in which ‘something happens.’’ —Craig Watson
‘Schultz’s poems strike me as a thoroughly fertile coup de plume and standing wave of metacognition; a sage, mordant social critique united with an abundant heart.’ —Lissa Wolsak