Archive for April 2014

The Shape of the Soul

rody for RWBFor Easter, we wanted to feature a poem by one of our members who offers some thoughts on the question: What is the shape of the soul? Rody Rowe says he awoke with these words on his heart. Thank you, Rody, for sharing this meditation with us.

“The Shape of the Soul”

for John Doerper

a cup without handles so both palms can mime a cradle.

tin, not crystal, light, durable, in a way, eternal,

easy to pack and carry even up to the high mountain

streams close to cloud-birth, tumbling, granite-cold

and clean the way God will taste on the sabbath morning

you find the sanity to kiss her full on the lips, but until

then, a deep well of seasons to pray up into the waiting

light, to dip the rim into a salt of frost, ethereal snow,

then ladle up spring’s syrup and forget-me-not honey

andhonesttogoodnessdblackberryjam for holy toast,

stews and chowders, cioppinos, broths and bisques,

and alms songs that rattle round the rim like shiny coins

and psalms of held breath and mourning doves,

and symphonies swelling all the seams,

something Copland-like or Lark Ascending

or a fiddle-full of ale and amber-poured shanties,

and last, a crush of tears, and twilight,

where we can only hope

the dents and scars of the longest dark,

will be repaired from our earliest need,

the red blouse parting, this glad reprise,

this chalice of flesh,

our old mulling mouths

gently guided home.


Rodolph Rowe


NaPoWriMo—National Poetry Writing Month—Dive in!

This month, one of our resident poets, Susan Chase-Foster, gives us some encouragement to join in on the National Poetry Month activities and festivities. Check out her blog post below. Thanks, Susan!



Hi April Writers,

It’s a blustery day here in B’ham and for a while the sky was so white and the temperature so cold it looked like snow. Normally, I’d murmur (or shout) an unglamorous expletive, but today I simply added “April Snow!” to my expanding list of poem possibilities for National Poetry Writing Month or, way more fun to say,

Now, many Red Wheelbarrow writers are familiar with NaNoWriMo, the November write-a-thon in which a novel is written in 30 days. Some of you have created a novel of your own, while others have written a chapter in one the collective RWB masterpieces that Laura Kalpakian and Cami Ostman initiated. Both were great fun! Well, NaPoWriMo is kind of like that only, instead of a novel, participants write a-poem-a-day so that by the end of the month you pretty much have a chapbook of original poetic musings. That’s why I’m taking the plunge.


Don’t worry! There are a ton of supports for those who participate.

• On the NaPoWriMo website, which you can access by clicking on the link above (or right here), what you will see right away is the blog on which each day a wonderful and optional prompt appears (no kidding) along with an explanation, supporting links and an example or two.

• There is a daily “featured press” to which you might consider submitting your writing.

• A daily “featured participant” whose poems and blog you can access by a click also appears, and if you’d like to share your blog with other participants you simply click on the tab at the top of the page that says “Submit Your Site.” I did that with my blog.

• There is an FAQ tab for those who need more information and a Participants Sites tab for those who want to read other writers’ work and maybe make some new friends.

• You can also access NaPoWriMo via Twitter (@napowrimo2o14) and NaPoWriMo’s Facebook page.

Lastly, I want to let you know what a delightful time I’m having writing a poem each day. Before Day 1, I was terrified thinking that I’d never be able to keep up, but what a surprise! With the delicious prompts and supports it’s been surprisingly easy and, most importantly, it’s not too late to start! Not at all. I really hope we can make this an RWB event and that, if you aren’t already participating, you’ll decide to join me and other writers from around the world for this delightful challenge.

If you’d like to take a look at my poems for the first couple of days please head to and check out “If Only Eyebrows Were Wings,” “Wild Night! Wild Night!” “La Llorona,” and “How to Enthuse a Muse.”

Happy writing!

Susan Chase-Foster