Liz Rhodebeck


Liz Rhodebeck, Menomonee Falls, has published poems in Your Daily Poem (online), VerseWisconsin, Blue Heron Review, Margie, Red Cedar, Echoes, The Penwood Review, Stone Boat Journal, Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, Verse and Vision, Wisconsin Poets' Calendar and others. She is the author of three chapbooks, Here the Water is Deep, What I Learned in Kansas and Benthos, and was the 2014 winner of WFOP's Muse Prize, as well as previously receiving a poetry fellowship award from the Kansas Arts Commission. Liz has facilitated poetry workshops for youth and adults, and was co-editor the community project One Vision: A Fusion of Art, Poetry and Dance. She performs inspirational poetry programs with Grace River Poets.

Here the Water is Deep, Orange Hat Publishing (2013)
What I Learned in Kansas, Port Yonder Press, (2010)
Benthos, Wolfsong Publications, (1998)


The Necessity of a Woman's Life

I become what I have to be.
Though fire burns in my bones,
             what else can I do?
Where I am has to be good enough soil,
must sustain me, though frigid as the tundra.
So, I learn to clothe myself in wool,
cover my head, shade my eyes
              and I survive.
Sometimes the fire blazes, warming
the tips of my fingers,
             but I dare not flinch.
 Storing the heat in the depths of my eyes,
becoming what I must, waiting,
             though not necessarily counting on
             a change in the climate.

From Benthos

She Runs With Horses
for Sherry Elmer

Like some wild woman,
           she tells me she runs with her horses –
not rides them, but runs alongside the fence,
breathing in their horsy smell
            of field and sweat, flank and mane;
I hear in her voice exhilaration, light in her face,
horse blood in her legs like all little girls
running at play, pretending we are horses. 

I ask her:  Don’t you get lonely out there
            in your quiet pastures?
And she says, I have my horses, my dogs, my sheep.
She asks me:  Don’t you get tired of
            all the noise of being on a city street?
And I say, I have life at my doorstep.

Though sometimes I wish I could hear only
             the pounding of hooves,
and she sometimes longs for a face at the door –

But…I am glad she runs with horses. 

 From What I Learned in Kansas