A Welcome Shore

A Welcome Shore (Canon Press, 2010), drew this praise from poet Dana Gioia: "I am generally of two minds about prose poems since they so often lack the virtues I most prize in both media.

"But Suzanne Underwood Rhodes' new collection combines the evocation and intensity of poetry with the psychological acuity and narrative force of prose. These interlocked personal meditations create a book worth pondering."

The book is 117 pages and includes several black and white photographs, taken by her husband, Wayne, which complement the writing.

Here is an excerpt from "Waxwings," and the accompanying photograph (above) in color:

"How is it that day after day the hedges stand unruffled, the street remains the street, my rising and dressing and driving and sitting at my desk go on as always and I am lulled into thinking that it will always be this way, that the Swiss music box on my bedside table given by my father to my mother to me will keep its three secret tunes forever.

But then I wake up one spring morning to find the hedge swarming with wings as the birds arrive, swooping down from heaven to gorge on holly berries. It goes on for three days—the ruddy robins and lemon-gray cedar waxwings streaking the canvas of air, creating three new mornings as I wheel my car out into the world with the spectacular dance falling off my rearview mirror."

Generous reviews have appeared in the Virginian-Pilot, Radix, Image and Out Walking, and are forthcoming in the Anglican Theological Review and Radix.

The Virginian-Pilot (by Edith White): http://tinyurl.com/6zrm45v

Steve West's Out Walking: http://bit.ly/cxp0bk

Image Update: http://tinyurl.com/6953gzo (sixth entry from top)

A Welcome Shore was nominated for a Library of Virginia award. To order from Canon Press: http://tinyurl.com/6zw9se6

A Welcome Shore

What a Light Thing, This Stone

Henry Taylor, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, writes this about What a Light Thing, This Stone (Sow's Ear Press, 1999): "The poems of Suzanne Clark are strongly and delicately spun from a deep encounter with the real world. The quality of  her observation is both calm and surprised, as if wonder were the most natural thing there was."

U.S. Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobsen endorsed the book, saying, "Her poems have force and skill, and often a shocking wisdom. [Her] poetry cannot be fitted into any trend. She is her own guide, and arrives at strange and haunting places."

The book's title and cover was inspired by a Rodin sculpture the author saw at the Metropolitan museum in New York and by a verse from the Bible: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

What a Light Thing, This Stone is available from the author for $18 (includes shipping and handling): SuzanneLRhodes@gmail.com.

From the book:


The sky fell

then lifted on watery wings,

great blue windsocks of birds

flapping back and forth

with kindling in their beaks

for the fire that welds wings secretly

each spring in trees over the Holston River.

Some were brooding and looking out,

their necks quizzical and quick,

their heads sharp as Egyptian figures,

but not seeing us, the bird club,

cumbrous in boots as we set up,

calling out names of birds netted in lists,

a kind of receipt for the life's looking.

I couldn't get enough through a scope

so I left the group and wandered down the bank

and hid in a bush to be near the sad

song of the white-throated sparrow,

near the tree of black vultures,

to be blind while the rookery emptied and filled

with wings--whispering, worldly wings.

What a Light Thing, This Stone

The Roar on the Other Side

"The Roar on the Other Side," writes poet and professor Scott Cairns, "is an invaluable introduction to the habits and skills that make a poet; more importantly, it is an introduction to the 'vision' that makes a poet worth reading. "Mrs. Rhodes is at once playful and inviting, insightful and enabling. For all her rhetorical gentleness and modesty, her lessons provide a glimpse, early on, of what many fail to observe after many years of toiling in the craft: that poetry is the language of revelation, a most immediate means by which we may suspect the Mystery of the Word inhabiting our lives." This popular poetry textbook  is useful for students of middle and high school but has also been taught in the college classroom. Chapters include "Sight Training," "Real Toads," "Metaphors Be with You," to name a few, all giving instruction in the art of seeing beyond appearances, the uses of imagery and figurative language, the importance of musical devices, and the possibilities of form. Several poems of her own students are included along with those of established poets. Writing activities are given throughout as well as a glossary. Available at www.CanonPress.com  
The Roar on the Other Side

Sketches of Home

This volume precedes A Welcome Shore and is a collection of prose meditations that captures "stabbing moments" in the life of a poet, a wife and a mother. Sketches of Home (Canon Press, 1998) was recommended by poet and author Robert Siegel, who wrote, "Suzanne Clark's Sketches of Home captures the splendor in the ordinary and extraordinary events of our lives. The vivid sights, sounds, and smells of the garden in "Pokeweed, Sneezeweed, and Butterbeans are a feast to the senses in which even the words seem edible." Poet, author and professor Eve Shelnutt also praised the book, describing it as "unique in its wholly unsentimental and yet affirming portrait of the rewards of family life. Clark's prose is both beautiful and intelligent. The quality of her inner life is enviable, not least because of her humility and grace." Here is what poet and Regent College writer in Residence Luci Shaw says: "Suzanne has this astonishing gift of writing the mosaic of her life into a book-poem and handing it over to us whole--a present. All her prose is poetry, mysterious, but like her life never inaccessible. Her experience is seen not darkly through the glass of corruption and decay but lit with an unearthly blaze that lets each detail--each rag or tack or leaf or button or child's face or wisp of woodsmoke--achieve its own brilliant reality. Sketches of Home is a haunting story, a combination of familial inevitability and lovely surprise." To order: www.CanonPress.com or write SuzanneLRhodes@gmail.com  
Sketches of Home

Weather of the House

This is Suzanne's first book of poems, a chapbook published by the Sow's Ear Press in 1994 and now out of print. Here is the first poem.


Rocking Emily in her dim, blue room

her legs folded up to make her fit

her head wood-hard against my chest

her hair no longer the down I breathed

back when the dark behind the blinds

was a known street:

I balk at this bigness, this weight on my heart

asking for a song to make her sleep,

as if she could, in such an awkward chair.

She would have me give up my plans--a book,

a glass of tea--all for her whose body wants holding

the night, even as it grows like a field

and will swallow me whole the day my senses leave.

Weather of the House

Sacred Glances

Sacred Glances

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic

Blackboard Blackmail

Mary Pride writes: "Blackboard Blackmail by Suzanne Clark (Footstool Publications) is the best book yet written on modern American public education. Mrs. Clark has an uncanny knack for stripping away the mystery surrounding the gap between what our educational leaders seem to promise and what they unfailingly deliver. Her personal story of being sued by the National Education Association for writing a letter to the editor of her local paper is fascinating reading. Mrs. Clark also shares with us the best research on NEA methods and goals that I have yet seen. Every parent should buy this book."

Order online at www.FootstoolPublications.com (Scroll down to online catalog)

Blackboard Blackmail
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