Dan Schneider (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dan Schneider
Born (1965-02-02) February 2, 1965 (age 50)
New York City, United States
Occupation Film critic
Nationality American
Education Graduated from Franklin K. Lane High School
Period 1984–present
Subject Film
Spouse Jessica Schneider

Dan Schneider (born 1965) is a United States poet, critic, film critic, essayist, and fiction writer best known for his criticism and literary website Cosmoetica. Schneider discovered poetry as a young adult, and has since published his poetry and essays in a number of magazines and newspapers. Schneider's outspoken critiques of academic-style writings and political correctness in publishing have caused him to be recognized in a number of media outlets, including Cambridge University Press, The New York Times, and City Pages. His film criticism has been praised by Roger Ebert, who called him a "considerable critic."[1]


Schneider was born in 1965 to an unmarried Minnesota mother. Given up for adoption in New York City, Schneider grew up with a working-class family in the Glendale-Ridgewood neighborhoods of Queens. According to his memoir and press accounts, at age six Schneider witnessed a murder, the first of many. During high school, Schneider was a gang member.[2][3]

As a child and young adult, Schneider worked a number of working-class jobs, including dairy manager at a grocery store. It is around this time he became interested in poetry. According to him, "I was watching the Phil Donahue show one day and they were talking about romancing a woman, and this guy on there said that poetry always worked. I remember that I had to look up the word in the dictionary."[2] Schneider set out to become self-educated about poetry (and literature in general).


When Schneider was in his mid-20s, he moved to Minnesota to learn more about his biological family. While living in the Twin Cities, Schneider became involved in local poetry readings and poetry slams. Schneider became known for his poetry, ability to critique others, and criticism of academic-style poetry, what he called the incestuous nature of poetry, where writers praised each other's works in a self-promotional cycle.[4]

This latter quality made him controversial. In one reported instance, Schneider attended a poetry reading by Robert Bly. During the question-and-answer session, Schneider asked why Bly was "such a lousy poet." Schneider followed this by quoting from an essay Bly once wrote on Robert Lowell, in which Bly talked about the younger generation needing to destroy the old, and how trees needed to burn to save the forest. Schneider said that's what he wanted to do for poetry.[5]

Schneider created and ran the Uptown Poetry Group, which was billed as the longest-running poetry critique group in the Twin Cities. He married poet Jessica Schneider (née Lester) in 2000.

Media coverage

In 1999, the alternative newspaper City Pages (a sister paper of the Village Voice) printed a cover story about Schneider. The article, titled "Dan Schneider vs. the Rest of the World," focused on Schneider's attempts to change what he saw as the incestuous nature of the Twin Cities' poetry scene. In addition to samples of Schneider's own poetry, the article featured comments about Schneider from both supporters and detractors.[2] The reaction to the article was massive. According to the writer of the article, more people responded to the article than anything the newspaper had ever published. For a month afterward, City Pages published letters to the editor about the article, with most of the established poets in the Twin Cities condemning Schneider and most general readers praising his honesty.[6] The article later won a third place award for best Arts Feature in the nation from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.[7]

In 2004, Schneider and his critical essays about literature were mentioned in a New York Times article, "The Widening Web of Digital Lit" by David Orr.[8] He has also been quoted in other newspapers such as The Village Voice[9] and on public radio.[10] Finally, Schneider's work has been condemned and praised by a number of online publications, from Web del Sol[11] to the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore[12] to various blogs.[13]

In 2008, Schneider's review of the novel White Teeth, by British author Zadie Smith was a featured excerpt in Contemporary Fiction: The Novel Since 1990, edited by Pamela Bickley, and published by Cambridge University Press.[14] His reviews have also been reprinted or excerpted in a number of places, including on the book Design and Truth from Yale University Press.[15] and in The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates by Howard Bloom.[16]


In recent years, Schneider has focused his energy on his website, Cosmoetica, founded in 2001. Ranking.com ranked Cosmoetica in the top half million literary websites.[17] Essays and reviews published on the site have been reprinted or referenced in a number of books, including The Creative Writing MfA Handbook.,[18] Contemporary Fiction: The Novel Since 1990,[14] and other books.[19] Poet Al Rocheleau said that the site has "a clearly anti-establishment take on the academic poetry scene, as well as fearless, brilliant assessments of many poets, including the famous, with which you may or may not agree."[20]

Schneider has used the non-commercial site to promote his view of poetry and literature, routinely condemning the works of those he sees as bad writers (such as Robert Bly) and praising the works of poets and writers he sees as neglected. Included in this last group are such writers as African-American poet James Emanuel and essayist Loren Eiseley. While the website started off focusing on literature, Schneider expanded it to cover topics like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, UFOs, and the Iraq War.

In 2003, Schneider and Arthur Durkee co-hosted an Internet radio program called Omniversica, which interviewed such diverse persons as poet James Emanuel, scientist Lynn Margulis, writer Dorion Sagan, actor/poet George Dickerson, director Josh Becker, astrophysicist and musician Fiorella Terenzi, surgeon and writer Leonard Shlain, author Howard Bloom, and filmmaker Godfrey Reggio.

In 2007, Schneider inaugurated The Dan Schneider Interview series on Cosmoetica. Amongst notable writers interviewed are novelist Charles R. Johnson, philosopher Daniel Dennett, journalist Pete Hamill, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, the "first in-depth interview with poet James Emanuel", paleontologist Jack Horner, essayist and film critic Phillip Lopate, zoologist Desmond Morris, journalist Charlie LeDuff, psi writer Brad Steiger, nature essayist Edward Hoagland, novelist Daniel Wallace, and actor/poet George Dickerson.[21]

Schneider has also written a multi-volume memoir titled True Life. Sections of this memoir, along with other of his writings, have been published in a number of print and online magazines, such as The Manifest,[22] 10,000 Monkeys,[23] and the Dublin Quarterly.[24]

Film criticism

In late 2006 Schneider further expanded his website to include an all film subsite called Cinemension.[25] The site contains hundreds of in-depth film and DVD reviews of foreign, classic, and contemporary films from a literary and narrative perspective. Schneider has published his film reviews in a number of online publications, and is a member of the Internet Film Critic Society.[26] His reviews are also aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes.[27] and have been mentioned in other media, such as the Discussion Guide for the PBS television show P.O.V.[28]

Schneider's film criticism has been praised by Roger Ebert, who called him a "considerable critic,"[1] adding

Dan Schneider is observant, smart, and makes every effort to be fair. What is remarkable about (Schneider's film reviews) is that Schneider keeps an open mind, approaches each film afresh, and doesn't always repeat the same judgments. An ideal critic tries to start over again with every review.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?" by Roger Ebert, December 9, 2009; accessed December 10, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Dan Schneider vs. the Rest of the World by Brad Zellar, City Pages, Twin Cities Reader Winter Books Issue, Volume 20, Issue 990, November 24, 1999. Accessed September 7, 2006.
  3. ^ http://www.laurahird.com/showcase/danschneider.html Laurahird.com, excerpt from Angels and Gangsters by Dan Schneider, accessed September 7, 2006.
  4. ^ "The good, the bad and the poesy," The Star Tribune, June 11, 2000.
  5. ^ Dan Schneider vs. the Rest of the World, page 6 by Brad Zellar, City Pages, Twin Cities Reader Winter Books Issue, Volume 20, Issue 990, November 24, 1999. Accessed September 7, 2006.
  6. ^ City Pages letters page, with 21 letters to the editor published in response to "Dan Schneider vs. the Rest of the World," accessed September 7, 2006.
  7. ^ American Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards: Arts Feature, accessed September 7, 2006.
  8. ^ The Widening Web of Digital Lit" by David Orr, The New York Times, October 3, 2004.
  9. ^ "Free Will Astrology" by Rob Brezsny, The Village Voice, October 11, 2006.
  10. ^ Nebraska-Born Poet Finds Fame Overseas by Avishay Artsy, Nebraska Public Radio special about poet James Emanuel, which quotes Schneider.
  11. ^ Bodega Survey, Reviews of Lit Sites, Publications, and Places by Tim McGrath, Steph Henck, and THE BABE, Web del Sol, accessed September 7, 2006.
  12. ^ The Acid Tongue: Dan Schneider connects the dots by Cyril Wong, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, July 4, 2003, accessed September 7, 2006.
  13. ^ Even grumpier than me! by Michael Allen, Grumpy Old Bookman blog, March 11, 2005, accessed March 13, 2007; Cobb v Schneider, Cobb: Strickly Old School blog, March 12, 2005, accessed March 13, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Contemporary Fiction: The Novel Since 1990, edited by Pamela Bickley, and published by Cambridge University Press, published July 2008, mentioned online at Cosmoetica, by Dan Schneider, July 24, 2008, accessed July 25, 2008.
  15. ^ Design and Truth by Robert Grudin, accessed May 16, 2011.
  16. ^ The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates by Howard Bloom, Prometheus Books, 2012, page 3
  17. ^ Ranking.com listed Cosmoetica.com as being in the top half-million websites in the world, and the 8th highest ranked poetry site, in data accessed on March 13, 2007.
  18. ^ The Creative Writing Mfa Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students by Tom Kealey, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005, page 160.
  19. ^ The Sky Rained Heroes: A Journey from War to Remembrance by Frederick LaCroix, Synergy Books, 2009, page 274.
  20. ^ On Writing Poetry: For Poets Made as Well as Born by Al Rocheleau, Shantih Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-615-39643-9, page 192.
  21. ^ "First and only in depth interview with great neglected poet of the 20th Century" M&C News September 28, 2007.
  22. ^ "Inside of Ridgewood" by Dan Schneider, The Manifest E-zine, issue 19, accessed March 13, 2007.
  23. ^ "The Essence of Tyranny" by Dan Schneider, Ten Thousand Monkeys, Issue #68, August 2004, accessed March 13, 2007.
  24. ^ The Will to Believe" by Dan Schneider, Dublin Quarterly, Issue 2, accessed March 13, 2007.
  25. ^ http://www.cosmoetica.com/Cinemension.htm Cinemension, accessed March 13, 2007.
  26. ^ http://www.gonewiththetwins.com/ifcs/ifcs_members.htm Member page, Internet Film Critic Society, accessed April 9, 2009.
  27. ^ Dan Schneider page on Rotten Tomatoes, accessed July 5, 2009.
  28. ^ P.O.V. Discussion Guide for 49 Up, a film by Michael Apted, PBS, page 26, accessed April 11, 2010.

External links