Danniel Schoonebeek

Award-winning Poet

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • Collaborating with the Room
  • Radical Revision
  • The Poetry of Christopher Logue
  • Death to the Speaker
  • An Evening with Danniel Schoonebeek

“One of our most exciting young poets.” —Timothy Donnelly

“Schoonebeek has excavated the idea of family in our time to find the distorted values in the idea of America beneath it.” —Harvard Review

“Schoonebeek’s dark and percussive poems crack the unconscious of the every-family and create a haunting portrait of American detritus.” —Melissa Broder

Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014), was named one of the year’s ten standout debuts by Poets & Writers and declared “a groundbreaking first book that stands to influence its author’s generation” by Boston Review. His second collection, Trébuchet (University of Georgia Press, 2016), was selected as a winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series and is described as “an explosive collection of poems that grapple with our current political moment.”

In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He is also a recipient of awards and honors from Poets House, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Oregon State University, and the Akademie Schloss Solitude. Recent work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Believer, and Tin House, and has been featured in the anthologies Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015), Best American Experimental Writing (Omnidawn, 2014), and Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics (Black Ocean, 2014).

He hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn and edits the PEN Poetry Series. He is also a co­organizer and founding member of Bushel.

Danniel Schoonebeek’s Website

Danniel Schoonebeek is the author of two collections of poems American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014), named one of 2014’s ten best books of poetry by Poets & Writers, and Trébuchet (University of Georgia, 2016), a 2015 National Poetry Series selection. In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and recent work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, and The Baffler.

TRÉBUCHET (Poetry, 2016)

“At once expansive, agile, and deadly serious, Schoonebeek writes with fugue­like sonic complexity and truly frightening political vision. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. A hot gold wire of rage burns through it.”—Kevin Prufer

The poems in Trébuchet—which takes its name from the catapult used to break down walls and barriers during medieval wars—are at once combative and incendiary, tackling contemporary politics in a more direct, personal way than Schoonebeek ever has before.

Addressing gun violence, poverty, fascism, surveillance, white privilege, the protest movement, censorship, American history, torture, and net neutrality, Schoonebeek’s writing is marked by a unique use of slang and jargon, manipulation of white space, and precise rhythm on the page. His poems have been praised by many critics for their momentum, obsession with weird language, end­-stopped lines.

Schoonebeek’s second collection is a departure from the aesthetics and obsessions that defined his first, which was invested in the politics of family dynamics and the insistence in this country on obtaining power and wealth. If American Barricade was the book that wanted to kick open the door, Trébuchet is the book that wants to tear the door off its hinges.


“The debut of a fierce talent and vision” —Maggie Nelson

“Explosively and assiduously crafted.” —C.D. Wright

Praised by Poets & Writers as one of 2014’s ten standout debuts and called “a groundbreaking first book that stands to influence the aesthetic disposition of its author’s generation” (Boston Review), American Barricade is a book that captures the songs of personal and national histories alongside the voices that are forced to sing these same tunes of economic and ancestral oppression. As though leafing through the pages of a fragmented American family album, “Schoonebeek excavates the idea of family in our time to find the distorted values in the idea of America beneath it. We both lose and gain an understanding of the self in an America in which private property is the beginning and end of despair” (Harvard Review).

Alternating between the voices of son and prophet, king and peasant, husband and enemy, these poems leap boundaries of generation, class, and race, and foretell the imminent collapse of American power structures while reminding us that restoring them is only possible through love and human connection.

Read “Love Me Til I’m Dead” – The Harvard Advocate


Saw a world was the straw­bale house

I spent

my life building

& caved in on herself

once a shift

whenever my auger brace

finished her

was to be

(& the god in the herringbone

hard hat

decreed this)

the legacy of the legacy

of my legacy’s

legacy’s legacy

– from Trébuchet


One dream I have is the voice of the statue is gunfire.

Mother calls, the landlord calls—the line is silent.

I watch myself decompose in the mirror a minute.

I check for bites. I check nothing’s left of the oats.

I wait for a word to appear in my alphabet soup.

My friends swoop down like owls and fly into the wall.

Tell me what I owe, and screech, and fly into the wall.

I wash myself and think how mother dressed a wound.

I dress myself and think how father cleaned a fish.

Heidegger tells me three dangers threaten thinking:

one I call liberty, one I call oats, one I call what I owe.

Soon the landlord will come and admire my soot.

His heaps, he wonders, which of his heaps will he bless?

His hand inside my hand is like holding a handful

of poppies, or a handkerchief a child dipped in milk.

When I leave I’ll count the women without children.

If I don’t I’ll count their children’s broken guns.

The train to work will stall beneath the river.

I’ll try not to say how close the end of self comes:

like a handful of poppies, or the bowl they rest in,

or the water filling them both—each possesses

nothing the water coming through the window won’t.

Soon I have a dream I take the city down with me.

I strike the name of my company from the building.

A friend writes the word wisteria and disappears.

The elevator falls a story—I use the word god.

A man I’ve met introduces himself and collapses.

Soon the bees forget. Soon the colony collapses.

I tell one of the workers to tell me how she works.

How I work is my business, she says, and collapses.

Home I undress how my father rinses an apple.

I rinse my mouth how my mother undresses a man.

The play I see is the man playing me collapses.

The woman I see is the voice of a gun when it backfires.

One dream I have is you visit me, Emma Lazarus.

One must bless his heaps is all you’ll tell me.

One I call colony, one I call soon, one I call what collapses.

– from American Barricade