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Workhorse Writers, 2023

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Chapbooks available

A new chapbook

 Buy Touchstones at Finishing Line Press. Order at this link

Roberta Schultz’ Touchstones takes on the big questions using the smallest things—the touchstones of a life—with an occasional foray into the cosmos, and even John Donne. God (or god) is a plumber, an uncle, a cat weaving around her person’s ankles, sending her to her death. The book explores the relationship of family of origin to who we become, and our responsibility and complicity both in families and in the larger family of humans. The poems are often humorous, but with a wry, serious humor. Chuckles of recognition rather than belly laughs. Each of the poet’s touchstones—from family, to religion, to music—are explored for their relationships to the question of what it means to be human.--Pauletta Hansel, author of Friend, Dos Madres, 2020.

In Touchstones by Roberta Schultz, we have poems as totems that lead to the interior life of the artist’s experience. Emotional and mysterious yet straightforward in its narrative, Roberta explores the landscape of relationships between mothers and sisters but also inheritances of all types. Along the way, there is struggle and loss as well as humor and celebration. We meet characters and visit places we may only travel if we read these poems (or happen to be a Webster sister). The use of nonchalant spiritual imagery and extended metaphor lifts up the present world’s troubles. Our shared cultural past and her genetic legacy are revealed poem by poem, where she uses the touchstones of her life to interpret the larger world. There is insight, musicality, and a moving vision of life interpreted through poetry.--Dale Marie Prenatt, author of Plum Kill't, MagCloud, 2019.




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New Review of Touchstones from Grady Ormsby(October 2020.)

I just had a wonderful visit with my friend Roberta Schultz. I had been to the mailbox and found an envelope from Kentucky. In it was a copy of her newest chapbook, Touchstones. It is her third poetry collection from Finishing Line Press. 

I picked up my Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball Fine Point pen, settled into my recliner and began the conversation. With the pen I make marginal comments, asked questions, recorded observations and added a couple of snarky reactions. 

It was fabulous spending time with her again. We met a dozen or so years ago. We are not the  closest of friends. Time and distance conspire against us. We live too far apart. We only see each other once or maybe twice a year, and then for only a short time. On the other hand, we are the closest of friends. She is a treasured, dear friend.  

She brought me up-to-date on family matters. There were stories and reminiscences about her mother and father, aunts, grannies and sisters, especially sisters. 

We went back to the past with childhood stories, family lore, an emergency visit to a doctor, politics in the family, ear teasing, a picnic by the river and genealogical wondering, 

We went to a variety of settings: Cincinnati, Grant’s Lick, Newport, and Phillips Creek. There was a haunting visit to a North Carolina plantation and a wonderful bear story from a campground in California. The cast of characters went beyond family to include people from the VA hospital and old folks’ homes where Roberta is a drum therapist. 

The conversation had more profound, spiritual side as she discussed prayer, the nature of God, the nature of nature, John Donne and a sweat lodge gift exchange. 

One of my favorites was “Requiem,” a summation of our shared baby boomer generation. 

A touchstone is a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized. Roberta’s 24 poems are touchstones that establish a standard of quality that is both familiar and universal.


Avid reader, Grady Ormsby, had this to say about Outposts on the Border of Longing:

Last year I wrote about Songs from the Shaper’s Harp by Roberta Schultz.   I recently received a copy of Outposts on the Border of Longing, her first published volume from Finishing Line Press.  I sat down and read it straight through (sixteen poems, 31 pages).  I immediately read it through again, this time with my Pilot fine point pen. I underlined and circled.  I created a marginalia of comments and questions.  It was a friendly conversation for, indeed, Roberta Schultz is a friend.    

In this slim volume she touched on a wide range of subjects: National Geographic, a new childhood home,room decoration, recess games, an Asian visitor, shopping lists, The Run of the Ancestors, canine love, a tornado and a haiku-like koan. Despite the nod to Zen there is nothing arcane or mysterious.  The predominant and recurring theme is family.  One of my favorite pieces is a wonderful sestina that appealed to the literary nerd in me.  All is very down-to-earth and vicariously familiar with a marvelous sense of humor and humanity.  I grew up five hundred miles away from where Roberta did, but she enlivens the characters in her story poems so that they are just as real as the ones I grew up with."