Underscore by Roberta Schultz


Underscore is one poet’s attempt to explore the currents that swirl underneath the surface of everyday life.  When do our voices breathe in unison, when do they diverge into counterpoint?

How do the events of our lives chorus into through-composed pieces without reprise or return to familiar themes? When do we finally sing along with the unmistakable music of the spheres?  In her first full-length collection, Roberta Schultz begins by looking “in instead of up” at the cadences we underline and define as our own.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 102
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: May, 2022
  • ISBN 978-1-953252-56-2


These pandemic-inspired poems coalesce around the power of song and the daily rhythms of a meditative life lived in fierce observation and reverence. Poet Roberta Schultz has many identities—Native and immigrant, performer and healer, teacher and student, mystic and sports fan. How she sings of her world will delight and amaze you. So many surprises and wild harmonies, underscored by her quirky gift for just the right detail. —Georgann Eubanks

“I believe in all women who mark time in heartbeats,” Roberta Schultz writes in her new collection, Underscore.  In these poems we respect the voice of a musician, a keeper of songs and memories, facts and folklore:  “Our voices clatter around the table, escape like ragged birds.”  Schultz is so adept at weaving the sacred and the secular that you rarely notice the magic until she has slipped it into a song, a bit of whimsy, or a meditation.  She gives us faith in human resilience, even as she asks us, in difficult times, to “pull from the well of your throat a rune for stillness.” —Cathryn Essinger

The poems in Underscore, Roberta Schultz’s first full-length collection, sing from the page. The book is as expansive as a symphony, yet as necessary as a ballad (“its humble/quivering threads”). For those of us who read with pen in hand, Underscore is a book of poems in which lines will be underscored on every page for all they offer: solace, humor, wisdom, beauty and an occasional welcome jolt like “pulling back a curtain /on cold truths that/shudder in the dark.” —Pauletta Hansel


If I Never Hear That Word Again…
(an acrostic)

Unless you have good reason to
name this strange time, I need you to
pull from the well of your throat a
rune for stillness. Why is everyone so
eager to utter words that
cloak our grief in borrowed cloth?
Enough social distancing. What we cannot
do is touch, stay, hug, or spend time with
each other. I know there is power in
naming. But I won’t give this misery
the rank it craves. It is not the first, nor the last,
evil pandering wrack and ruin.
Deny its need to irk your open mouth.


Roberta SchultzRoberta Schultz is a singer songwriter, teacher and poet originally from Grant’s Lick, KY. Her poems and song lyrics have appeared in Women Speak, Vol.7, Sheila-Na-Gig, Panoplyzine, Riparian, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Kakalak and other anthologies. Three of her chapbooks, Outposts on the Border of Longing, Songs from the Shaper’s Harp, and Touchstones were published by Finishing Line Press. Her latest chapbook of poetry, Asking Price, was accepted by Workhorse Writers for their 2022 series.

Additional information

Weight 7.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in