Archive for May 2015

A Message from Laura Kalpakian!


RWB Book Club:

Sunday, June 14, 4 p.m. in the lobby at Pickford Theatre

The Red Wheelbarrow Writers Book Club theme choice for June is, not surprisingly, Fathers. For June we’ve added a petite caveat: no one can choose Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is the most sterling father in American literature, the father everyone wanted to have. We might as well subtitle our June choice: Beyond Atticus.


Our themes can be genres as well. If you would like to have a writerly discussion on memoir, sci fi, time travel, travel-travel, YA, fantasy, graphic novels and other genres, join us on June 14th [check date] at 4 at the Pickford and make a suggestion for July.


For our May discussion of Mothers, naturally, Mommy Dearest made an appearance among other titles. Mostly the fictional mothers we noted were either comic, symbolic or nasty unto evil. One reader chose books like Jane Eyre where girls who were motherless made their way in the world as successful, if challenged adults. As a group we marveled at the paucity of novels with good mothers. The only one I could think of was Lucia Santa from The Fortunate Pilgrim, Mario Puzo’s first novel. There’s the mother in Little Women, I suppose, a model of loving decorum.   One reader brought the children’s book, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree in which the maternal tree yields up its everything to and for the demanding child. Is that the good mother?


Atticus Finch aside, are fictional fathers portrayed differently? Think on it, and join us for a lively discussion Sunday June 14th at the Pickford.


Below are some of the titles offered up for the Mothers Theme

Grapes of Wrath

Scarlet Letter

Nicholas Nickleby

The Fortunate Pilgrim (Mario Puzo’s first novel)

Bleak House

Jane Eyre

The Giving Tree

Happy Mother’s Day at Big Rock Garden Park!


If you’re looking for a delightful way to spend Mother’s Day, this might be just the ticket!

In Honor of William Carlos Williams

And in the wake of National Poetry Writing Month.

Here is a poem by our very own Linda Lambert


But first…

The Red Wheelbarrow (1923)

by William Carlos Williams


so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white




Standing before you:

four couplets

of our namesake poem,

a single declarative


No capital letters,

no punctuation,

except for that annoying

final period.


Then those lines forcing pauses.

and the disparate subjects:

a lonely wheelbarrow,

(a common object)

beautified by rain,

plus a few  chickens,

(social creatures)

next to a farmer’s equipment.


Think about this poem

cinematically,** in which

we readers are prodded

to change perspective.

The wheelbarrow is a close-up.

The rainwater glaze,

an extreme close up.

The wheelbarrow, combined with the chickens, a wide angle view.


I can see the poem as a painting,

as Williams’ painter mother

might have seen it,

a still life with implied action,

and the color red,

a contrast to the color white.


Williams wrote this poem, he said,

because it gave him pleasure.

Laughing, he explained:

“Then I thought about it

and I wondered what it meant.”**


Ninety-two years later,

after explications by many pens,

we continue to think and wonder,

remaining captivated.





**an idea suggested by X.J. Kennedy in the Winter 2001 issue of Explicator


***from a radio interview of William Carlos Williams by Mary Margaret McBride in 1950