"In Psalms of the Dining Room, Lauren Schmidt lays down riffs like a fierce blues guitarist, one who knows the power of each carefully chosen note. These poems explode with tough compassion. They sting a little bit--they make us flinch in recognition. Schmidt's sharply etched details tell the powerful stories of her characters' struggles to be seen, to be acknowledged as human. These poems remind us of how close we all are to each other, despite efforts at denial and distance, despite how violence can erode the human spirit. Her characters fight for dignity in the face of everything rigged to keep them down."
author of In Line for the Exterminator
The poetry of Lauren Schmidt does what poetry should do: make the invisible visible, indelibly, unforgettably. If ever a collection of poems embodied Whitman's dictum to speak for "the rights of them the others are down upon," this is it...The poems inspired by the experience of working with this community--in The Dining Room and beyond--humanize the dehumanized, compelling us to see what we do not see and hear what we do not hear, to gaze upon the "ugly" until it becomes beautiful, to re-imagine, re-invent and repair the world.
-From the Foreword by Martin Espada