Schulte award


First place winner in the poetry category for poetry self-published book, 2017
The overall design of the book features an interior layout that is professional with text design on each page that is readable and crisp, while the cover image for the book is bright and vivid, giving a literal and metaphorical sense of the themes the book will develop. “ ~ from Writer’s Digest “Judge’s commentary”


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to purchase
100 pages, 5.5x8.5”

“In this eloquent book of poetry, Karen Schulte unpacks the commonality of joy and suffering, meditates on the subtleties of its varied landscapes and translates her wide-ranging memories into art. Where Desire Settles, is a melodically rich compilation of poems that I will gladly return to with great pleasure.”
- Gladys L. Henderson, author of Eclipse of Heaven (Finishing Line Press);Walt Whitman Birthplace, Poet of the Year 2010.

Karen Schulte’s first book of poems, Where Desire Settles, signifies the presence of a remarkable new talent. She has the ability to make tangible the most fleeting of life’s daily wonders. She takes us down paths we think we know but she plumbs so deep that we’re surprised as she shows us that fluttering iridescent moment we’ve been too busy to notice. Schulte also takes a risk in showing us the quality of “quiet” and “silence.” And you can’t help say to yourself, ‘Yes she caught it. That is what quiet is. She hears what quiet is.’”
- Muriel Harris Weinstein - When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat (Chronicle Books); Tumblr animated film, Play Louis, Play! - Bloomsbury Books nominee for Texas Bluebonnet, Paterson Poetry Prize; What Women Will Do (Finishing Line Press).


We were always together come summer
in the white house on a sloping hill
in a village no longer there,
days when all there was to do
was gather around the kitchen table
five small children in mid-morning glare,
fine dust gathering overhead
while my Aunt Esther’s manicured hands
whisked milk, eggs and sugar
in a bowl until thickened,
the cream, round and deep,
ready for the freezer, until pure
vanilla ice cream, iced for our spoons
to scrape the surface, soft enough
for the tasting— even the white liquid,
melted on the bottom was scooped
into our mouths, sweetly thickened,
it rolled off our tongues to our lips and chins,
much of it on clothes and fingers,
weighing us down until we collapsed,
became anchored in spirit and bone,
slept like the children we were,
wrapped in our own measured breathing.


It doesn’t matter what she remembers,
she remembers what she can

mostly her past back to girlhood
which she colors with soft pastels
forgetting hard times as if they never happened

in that rust belt city upstate
she still calls home though it’s years
she’s gone from there seeking

her way on stage, singing until her head explodes,
her voice reed-thin against piano chords,
hoping for fame and fortune,
trying to please the summer crowd
more interested in drinks than her acting—

even her long marriage, another role,
the center of a perfect script, disappears
behind the facade of small happenings,
everyday murmurs and an old 1970 photo of her husband

along with the ancient soft silk
of a scarf she once wore wrapped
around her neck, the narrow ends knotted
to move like small pendulums as she danced.

These days she waits patiently
for visitors, the few who still come by,
drawn to her charm playing herself,

where she stars for a moment in a damask covered room
wondering at her good fortune to have
so many people loving her and applauding.



Nothing about these ancient photos
looks like anything I’ve seen before
except in Old Westerns
where John Wayne plays cowboy—
here, it reeks of dirt streets and wooden shacks,
where rambling carts pass filled
with beets and cabbages,
stacked high, pulled by their owner,
greeted by throngs of people
going to market, milling together
in this place called Vishnevo
on the banks of the river Olshenka,
crossing the boundaries of a larger town,
bustling with more people
posing with families draped around them,
where someone took time
to make pictures of an old man
with my grandfather’s name, wearing a skullcap
along with a woman, a string of small pearls
delicate on her neck,
a slight smile creasing her upper lip,
both husband and wife in full face,
dead before the cold fist of war and murder
closed over their bones in a cemetery
long forgotten, its chiseled dates of birth and death
in chips of stone, slivers of curving letters
in the grass- blown pasture where stillness
can be heard in the dust of footprints,
smoke inhaled in crackling fire,
a vision of the timbered synagogue in flames
ringed with burning flesh, the river overflowing
with mud and waste before its final rush downstream
so no one ever knows how once it was beautiful.

                               * * * * *
© Karen Schulte 2017-2018.