Suzanne Underwood Rhodes
ANNOUNCING "Yum's the Word" Poetry Contest
(because words are delish!)
Dear Friends of Home Education,
I'm excited to announce a statewide poetry contest, Yum's the Word (so-called because words, like healthy, natural foods, are delicious) for home-schooled students. Deadline for submissions is July 1. Please contact me to get all the information, which includes a flyer describing the contest and judges; two Power Point presentations that provide a poetry primer, one for students grades 1-5, and the other forgrades 6-12; and a copy of the proclamation I initiated which Governor Hutchinson signed declaring April 10 as Youth Poetry Day.
In January Governor Hutchinson appointed me to serve a four-year term as the Arkansas Poet Laureate. My passion is to ignite the creative spark resident in every human being but especially in young people to lead them to the wonder, beauty, and power of words, those magnificent shapes of thought and feeling that can inspire a life, as poetry inspired mine from an early age.
With the numbers of homeschooling families surging to eight percent in Arkansas since the pandemic, and with those families looking for ways to enrich their children in the arts, I thought this contest would be a good project for me to undertake in my new role.
II can't wait to taste the delicious words in the poems of the contest entries.
Thank you for your investment in our children, our future.
Suzanne U. Rhodes
"Perhaps more than other art forms, poetry has the force to reach depths of human spirit with beauty, truth, and feeling. How we need its grace, fervor, and healing power in these tumultuous times. I feel privileged to be an ambassador for poetry to bring Arkansans together, young and old, through the unifying gift of words."
Thank you for visiting my website. As a poet and essayist, I think of a word as a tree, alive with possibility and even danger! Words are mysterious, like tree hollows I can crawl into. Words extend branches I can climb onto and see the sky beyond the limits of my mind. The limbs and leaves teach me to see how everything connects. I can view the earth from a height and gain a wiser perspective. Words have roots, too--roots in the divine: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
Come climb with me.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a writer looking for an editor, please check out my independent editorial practice here on the website.
Most of the photos on this website were taken by my husband, Wayne Rhodes, a professional photographer who specializes in landscape and nature photography.
Suzanne's new collection of poems, Flying Yellow (Paraclete Press), is available through the publisher as well as major outlets like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
"The poems in Flying
Yellow by Suzanne Underwood Rhodes cry out for the day just out of reach,
the day which unaccountably may in a moment or a season let down a joyful light
into the obscurity of human trial. A hopeful belief in heaven and the end of
suffering colors these profoundly spiritual, often uneasy poems. Carried by
musical currents that shape her work, Suzanne ventures into what she calls "the
good dark stuff" of experience-good because the dark is where Christ went,
willingly, to take it captive. Whether probing the meaning of her own personal
traumas or those of historical figures like Mary Rowlandson and Dorothy
Bradford; whether peeling back layers of habitual sight to see the natural
world of robins and ghost crabs and shorelines more truly, she brings the
reader alongside each surprising encounter to see the possibilities of light."
Praise for Flying Yellow
"This is one of the richest poetry collections I have read in a long time. Here are the intense images of a 1960's childhood, vivid narratives of family stresses and joys, and a panoply of voices--from colonial American women to a very pregnant Mary. These poems excite the spirit with revelations of the holy that one encounters in the most unlikely places, which of course is where the holy often appears. It is impossible to read these poems passively. Instead, one luxuriates in their explorations of the beauty and the ambiguities and the mysteries of life fully lived." -Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Poetry Editor, Christian Century
"Once in a very long while, if you're lucky enough, a voice reaches out to haunt you in what the poet names a "syntax that gives shape to every scream." Here, in an American idiom we can follow and trust, Suzanne Rhodes manages to reveal a Presence that lives within and beyond us. In poem after poem after poem, she shows us with the spiritual insight and wit of a George Herbert, a broken world which, resurrected, can flame out in a music which, even as it burns, lifts us into a liminal space beyond anything we might ever have expected." -Paul Mariani, University Professor Emeritus, Boston College, poet and biographer