upcoming reading


Mark will read from and sign his book at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC (55 Haywood St.), on October 9, 7:00 pm.



Mark will discuss and sign his book at the Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky on September 20, 2014, at 2:00 pm (est).


Mark Schimmoeller received a 2014 Al Smith Fellowship, a biennial grant for Kentucky writers, for his nonfiction writing.  Thanks to the Kentucky Arts Council for sponsoring these awards.

Chelsea Green buys Slowspoke


Chelsea Green Publishing will re-publish Slowspoke:  A Unicyclist’s Guide to America in the fall.  Mark Schimmoeller and Alice Peck Editorial signed a contract with them on May 3.




A good crowd, despite a winter storm warning, came to Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY to hear Mark Schimmoeller read from Slowspoke on March 2.  Upcoming readings are currently being scheduled.  Meanwhile, in honor of a lingering winter, a poem:


Being Here


The ice storm comes at night, the pingsplish

at the window panes

for hours


and in the morning

we are all caught as if by

a camera click


in a quick silver grip.


We are bent toward something

we can’t get out of


in this cold.


Look at the cedar,

some already at the ground.


As for me, it’s early February,


and I’ve probably been captured

doing something with wood

perhaps stacking six pieces of split

Osage orange on top of criss-crossed

kindling and newsprint

in a tiny cast iron stove,

then kneeling down in a chilly house

before sunrise


to strike a match,


and this can’t be a scary thing

to find yourself here

like you’ve never left (for me,

fourteen winters lighting this stove)


because this isn’t everything, you’ll

go on to boiling oatmeal, peeling

hardboiled eggs, writing,

walking the dogs with

two dog treats in the pocket,

sawing wood for the following winter, the chainsaw

scattering sawdust the color of summer

over the snow.


But hold this pose

for now,


keep it

a little longer.



Mark Schimmoeller will read from Slowspoke at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky on Sunday, March 2, at 2:00 pm.  He will be with two other local authors.  It will be his first reading at a bookstore since Publishers Weekly gave Slowspoke a starred review.






Mark Schimmoeller will read from Slowspoke at the Wild Goose Cafe in Owenton, KY on Friday, February 21 at 7:00 pm. Local poets will join him there, including Trina Peiffer and Reid Bush.

special note:  Slowspoke was selected to be the “Opening Lines” header in the Kansas City Star Books Section, February 9, 2014.

Publishers’ Weekly gave Slowspoke a starred review on February 17, 2014.  (To read, click on the website “Reviews” tab.)

The Schimmoeller family land is forever protected, following a signing ceremony with Woods & Waters Land Trust on November 26, 2013.  Here is a poem that Mark’s sister, Trina Peiffer, read as part of the ceremony:




Run the gravel lane, old Tackett’s Mill Road,

a rough ridge road.

Run the hills.

Run it often for speed and for fun.

Run it because cars don’t drive back—

the cabin is farther in.


Run it in the dark.

Run fast flying

at everything you can’t see,

every footfall a risk

and a landing.

Run flying home in the dark

because you are in your twenties,

you are new here,

and the woods go beyond what you know.


It’s 125 acres.

There is an unchinked 18 by 22 foot cabin.

No electricity, no running water.


Imagine a father who would turn

to his adult children and ask,

“Can you do it?

Do you want to do this?”


“Yes!” you say,

you all say yes.

Yes to candlelight, cisterns, a well, woodstove,

wheelbarrow, a family journal.

Yes to a cool pond, garden fences,


Yes to tick checks, chiggers, heat, mud, and cold.


Yes because there have never been more trees

and because it has never been more fun,

real, ridiculous, or laborious

to be alive.

Alive and askew in a blackberry thicket.

Alive and outrun by a wild turkey.

Alive and alert to coyote,


and deer.

Alive at a slant to modern times,

coming at it the back way,

up a gravel road, across more land,

marriage, more handmade houses,

up through your thirties, into your forties,

with children in arms, on foot,

then outracing you,

children coming up laughing, wailing,


running the gravel lane, old Tackett’s Mill Road,

making the trees flash by.


Imagine that this family is yours,

and you have passed through a piece of land,

birthing on it,

burying into it,

and finally seeing that it

has its own flight

across dark and light-checkered time,

a run of trees

pioneering a rock-crunching,

dead-fall, canopy-wide passage

beyond everything you know.





At the Old State Capitol in Frankfort, KY, on November 15, Mark Schimmoeller gave this introduction before reading from his book:


At some point during my unicycle journey I realized I could go more slowly walking than unicycling.  That threw me—for if I was making a point about slowness, why not go more slowly?  But I soon realized that my journey was also about the rhythm of my unicycle.  When I am on a unicycle, I can feel the planet under me, and I’ve got to figure out how to be on the planet—and what’s more, that’s the only task I have; I don’t, thank goodness, have to go as quickly as possible between Point A and Point B; I only need to have my arms out searching for equilibrium.

So my journey was about slowness, but also, I must admit, about inefficiency.

I should mention that at the time of my journey I also owned a pogo stick— in choosing a unicycle, I did manage to draw some boundaries.

So a unicycle for me has been a way to be playfully non-productive.  It’s been a kind of shelter from our very goal-oriented and fast society.  But you don’t have to be a unicyclist to experience this.  You can experience this listening to a piece of music, or being in the woods, or making something well.  The important thing is to discover whatever that activity is that slows time for you.

Mark will be reading from his book on Friday, November 15th, 2013, at 6:30 pm at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort, KY.  The event also features Morgan Atkinson, Sam Avery, Bill Best, and John Gage and is a benefit for the Kentucky Conservation Committee.

       The following day, on November 16, he will be selling signed copies of Slowspoke from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Kentucky Book Fair at the convention center in Frankfort.