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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Haiku - Pair, Pare, Pear

Greetings, Poetry Lovers! 

 

Here's hoping you enjoyed International Haiku Poetry Day on Tuesday (April 17).  Perhaps you joined in the worldwide Earthrise Rolling Haiku Collaboration over at The Haiku Foundation? Jim Kacian mentions there that it was "another record-breaking showing" and that a "complete version will be made available shortly and announced on the blog." 

 

Here is a pair of haiku of mine in the current issue of Frogpond:

 

 

bone tired

the maze

of hospital halls

 


graduation cords our empty nest

 


Frogpond, Vol. 41:1, Winter 2018

poems ©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

While I think a solid haiku resonates with a reader independently of its author's experiences - and sometimes for very different reasons - when I re-read my own haiku, I'm transported to the moment they came to me, or their first unedited versions anyway.  Both of these are snapshots of my life in the last year. 

 

Regarding the first poem, I made several trips back and forth to Florida beginning last summer as my mother was undergoing surgery and then months of chemo for colon cancer.  Happy to report that she is doing well now, and has even been doing some cleaning and yard work of late.  (Mom, if you're reading this - don't overdo! )

 

With the second poem, I was moving around some stuff in Seth's room (our youngest) and came across the bag of college graduation accoutrements from last May.  (And also happy to report we'll get him home for several weeks this summer, after he finishes his internship and before he starts grad school/seminary in August. Yay!)

 

The pare part of this post is about two things:  the paring of words and ideas involved in writing haiku, and sometimes the paring of responsibilities needed to meet life's curve balls.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer last year, I wanted to be free to make those trips, so I handed over the reins as HSA (Haiku Society of America) SE Regional Coordinator to the very able Michael Henry Lee (one of my favorite poets, by the way).

 

A few weeks ago I took a tentative step back into the volunteer world for a local Habitat for Humanity art project here, but then found out a friend might be facing a significant health challenge.  Last year's lesson of being somewhat available revealed itself again, and I emailed that coordinator to bow out before fully jumping in.  She kindly emailed back, "Wow, life does come at us fast- right?" My art business is small, but it takes loads and loads of time, not to mention writing, my first hat! I appreciate her understanding. 

 

The pear I have tossed in here in conclusion.  We have an old, not particularly impressive tree in the middle of the back yard.  Did not even know it was a fruit tree, until one year I found some scraggly odd-shaped green orbs on the ground.  Apples?  They didn't quite look like the apples we used to have back on our little farm years ago.  Pears?  Didn't quite look like pears either.  I even brought some inside and tried to see if I could eat or cook with them, but I still wasn't quite sure what they were.  That was a couple-few years ago.

 

Then this week, I was paying better attention I guess, and caught them in an earlier state of being.  The branches are dripping with them! Some branches, anyway.  The surprise and delight of these pendulum baby pear drops just made me smile.  I hope they make you smile, too.

 

Speaking of smiling, HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in our online SURPRISE Birthday Party for Lee Bennett Hopkins here last week.  I know all your love and warm wishes touched our guest of honor.  

 

Remember to check in with Jama's Roundup of National Poetry Month activities in the Kidlitosphere, and the Progressive Poem, too.  Not caught up?  No worries - read through line by line, with no delay of gratificiation!  Unitl the current date anyway.  I'm up - gulp! - on Saturday.

 

Check out all of TODAY'S poetic wonderfulness with the inspiring Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference - and keep those party hats out, because her IMPERFECT Mistakes Anthology hits online bookstores TODAY!!! I'm honored to have a poem included and can't wait to read everyone else's. Here's to life's imperfections!

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Poetry Friday Roundup - Happy Birthday, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!!!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Poetry Friday!  The Roundup is Here.

 

And, SURPRISE! - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!

 

Welcome to your Poetry Friday Birthday Party!

 

****************

 

A few weeks ago, the clever and generous Linda Kulp Trout (Write Time) noticed that Lee's birthday fell on a Poetry Friday this year, the one I'd signed up to host.  Let's have a party, she suggested.  Let's do, said I.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (The Poem Farm ) jumped into the planning posse and away we went.

 

Lots of folks in the Poetry Friday community enthusiastically came on board.  See the trail of sprinkles? EVERYONE is welcome to celebrate – leave some birthday wishes below, and/or celebrate on your blog with a link in the comments, too!

 

I'll round up links throughout the day, and everyone can go from one party room to another, with some other fun poetry posts mixed in. Enjoy them all!

 

Lee, folks will be leaving you wishes in the comments today, and many will have links to party posts.  A few other special folks have dropped by here with their greetings.... 

 

The lovely and talented Heidi Bee Roemer (heidibroemer.com) beautifully captures the kind of relationship many poets have experienced with Lee:

 

 When I first met Lee in 1999 (thereabouts) at the Butler University Children's Conference, Rebecca Kai Dotlich's LEMONADE SUN was popping off bookstore shelves. On this pivotal day, Rebecca introduced me to my poetry idol, "the world's most prolific anthologist of poetry for children," Lee Bennett Hopkins. Little did I know what a far-reaching influence he would have in my life. In a career that has spanned decades, Lee has championed numerous aspiring poets, just like me. Moreover, he has captured the adoration of his readers, young and old, who find delight and oftentimes, epiphanies, in the words of a simple poem. Lee's passion for poetry is truly contagious. Allow me please to borrow the title of his brand-spanking new book-- WORLD MAKE WAY! as we celebrate Lee Bennett Hopkins' extra-special birthday!

 

Yes - World Make Way!  Speaking of Rebecca Kai Dotlich (rebeccakaidotlich.com), she wasn't about to miss an opportunity to send along some sprinkled wishes.  Here are her words for you, Lee:

 

I know how much you love birthdays.  How much you love any celebration at all.  Being your friend IS a celebration.  Chocolate is a given, but I hope your day is filled with a little shopping, a little art, a little tapioca pudding and maybe an ice cream cone. And I hope one line of a poem comes to you, because I know that, alone, will bring you joy.  Always know how much you are loved. How lucky I am to have you as my friend for so many birthdays, and for so maaaaannnnnnny more.

 

How old is Lee, you all ask?  Well, let's just say 80 candles means he's still HOT, wouldn't you agree?

 

Wait - I hear a knock.  Why, it's Rebecca M. Davis, senior editor extraordinaire at Boyds Mills Press & Wordsong!  She's here with these words for you, Lee.  (Please imagine some of them in a vibrant purple; my blog wouldn't play nice with colors.)

 

Dearest Lee,

 

Happy 80th birthday to you!

 

Hooray for Lee—friend, poet, friend of poets! Let's call you the poet's poet. You have made and continue to make our world brighter, more joyful, more wonder-filled through your work every day.

With love and admiration,

 

Rebecca (Davis)

 

Thank you for joining us, Rebecca! 

 

Is that someone behind you?  Behind the camera?  Ohh - it's Stephanie Salkin!  She and Jude Mandell spearheaded the effort to have Lee inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame last year.  Stef is busy with her camera settings, so she just sends HUGS AND KISSES, Lee!

 

ENDLESS appreciations to Tomie DePaola  (Tomie's website) for such incredible art, and for joining the celebration.

 

Thanks to everyone for draping streamers from blog to blog today, and special thanks to Charles Egita for keeping the secret! ;0)  

 

Finally, from me,  a haiku for you, Lee -- inspired by Charles: 

 

 

blooming orchids -

the poem he knows

by heart

 

                                                                                                     Robyn Hood Black

 

Now, I know EVERYONE wants to get on with the party… Enjoy clicking through all the birthday posts and poetry – what better way to celebrate?

 

WE LOVE YOU, LEE!

 

**************

 

(Remember to drop in on the 2018 Kidlit Progressive Poem when you can, and check out all the Kidlit Poetry Month projects and feasts rounded up by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup!  Want to keep up with Lee's latest books and poetic adventures?  Click here for his website!)

 

The Roundup -

 

*From the Night (Before) Owls:*

 

At Write Time, Birthday-Party-Idea-Originator Linda (Kulp Trout) gets this celebration off the ground with balloons, a beautiful personal tribute to Lee featuring one of his poems, and a special giveaway!

 

Linda Mitchell continues the party with today's line in the 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem over at A Word Edgewise.   Oh, you'll never believe where she's taken our poem's flowering protagonist, Jasmine.

 

Off to Maine we go with Donna at Mainely Write….  She has the perfect "L" day celebrations for Lee… Go See!

 

An ekphrastic poetry master, Diane at Random Noodling offers a cherita in Lee's honor based on a painting, "The Poet's Voice" (1923) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].  (She also includes a link to Lee's terrific NPR interview for World Make Way.) 

 

Diane's Kurious Kitty gives readers a glimpse into the breadth of Lee's many, many (many) works!

 

And, speaking of World Make Way, Karen Edmisten is highlighting this special book today, with some special wishes for Lee, too.

 

Matt chimes in from Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme with an interview with Louie Chin, illustrator for Don't Ask a Dinosaur, which Matt co-wrote with Deborah Busse.  He's also got some Poetry Cubed #5 entries, and birthday wishes for Lee!

 

At Teaching Authors, Bobbi shares a fulsome post about "The Crowned Prince of Poetry" (our guest of honor, of course)with more about World Make Way as well. 

 

Alice Nine shares two poems inspired by Lee's… "Crows" and "A Deet-ed Tick"!  (I know, you have to go check them out – poems are the best gifts!)  

 

Buffy shares a "Spectacular Lee" post in honor of his anthology, Spectacular Science.  The book inspired her original poem, "Spring Questions."  (Hoping Spring makes its way to all of you in chilly climes!)

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares an original, celebratory poem made from some of Lee's book titles. (Well done, Catherine!) She shares a video of Lee as well. 

 

Brenda is celebrating Lee at Friendly Fairy Tales with a poem after this Lowcountry gal's heart – "Why Salt Marshes?" – with another nod to Spectacular Science. 

 

At Today's Little Ditty, Michelle has a delightful poem for our guest of honor, "Don't Ask a Hopkinsaurus" – I dare you to get to the end without smiling.  Catch up on her current giveaways (including Don't Ask a Dinosaur by Matt Forrest Esenwine and  Deborah Bruss) and poetry projects, too!

 

Grab your party hats and blowers to go visit the Gathering Books crowd.  Fats is celebrating Lee today with some favorite poems from different anthologies.  

 

At TeacherDance, Linda B. is celebrating up a storm!  She has two poem-gifts for Lee, a haiku as part of her Poetry Month project and a colorful poem featuring lots of his book titles.   

 

You MUST check out the festive birds celebrating Lee over at Michelle Kogan's place – and her original poems for Lee.  She shares a couple of his poems, too! 

 

At Writing the World for Kids, Laura shares a poem she wrote to celebrate Lee 10 years ago, "Recipe for a Poetry Book." It still perfectly fits! 

 

Alan J. Wright at Poetry Pizzazz would like to know, "Where's the Poetry Section?" in bookstores.  Will you join him in asking?  

 

Jama, who has kindly rounded up Kisdlitopshere Poetry Month offerings at Jama's Alphabet Soup, has a celebration of World Make Way AND a giveaway! 

 

Ramona is checking in from Pleasures From the Page with warm recollections of how Lee's books have touched her over the years, and with a 13-line poem created with some of her favorite LBH book titles.  Perfect for the 13th!

 

Laura Shovan has a fascinating celebratory post sharing Lee's "Final Score," with connections between that poem and her new book, TAKEDOWN.

 

Jone Rush MaCulloch  offers a gorgeous haiku and photo honoring Lee today at Deowriter.

 

Jone is also featuring some wonderful Student Poetry at MacLibrary.  Enjoy! 

 

Raincity Librarian Jane shares a poem excerpt from "Druid Hill Park" by British Columbian poet Heidi Greco, part of the local "Poetry in Transit" program.

 

At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol has… well – Shhh!  It's a Surprise! ;0)

 

Hear those voices of happy kids?  Those are  Teacher Ann Marie Corgill's  first graders from Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover, joining the LBH Birthday Party at The Poem Farm with Amy.  You'll also find Amy's Poetry Month project poem for today, which is something like a simile. ;0)

 

*Next Up:  The Early Birds:*

 

Our bella Renée is wishing Lee Happy Birthday via Facecbook.  At No Water River, she continues her Community Collections series for Poetry Month with Elizabeth Acevedo, renowned slam poet, presenter, educator, and verse novelist – powerful poetry!


It's almost a book birthday, too – Tabatha Yeatts's Mistakes Anthology is about to make its way in the world!  At the Team Imperfect book blog today, she's got mini mistake poem riddles by Molly Hogan.  These would be great to share with kids!

 

Craving more of that?  At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha is sharing more mini mistake-maker riddles ("Thieves, Fairies and Hearts") and birthday wishes for Lee!

  

Greg Pincus is in the party spirit, sharing a seasonally appropriate poem from Lee that he first featured several years ago at Gottabook.  

 

You can't have a party without Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy, and she sends colorful art and Joy-ful poetic greetings for Lee from her Hawaiin islands. (Is that a ukulele I hear?)

 

At There is no such thing as A God-forsaken town, Ruth continues the celebration with some of Lee's own words about his work life.  She also has a poem by Tony Hoagland that is guaranteed to stretch your poetic senses. 

 

Drift on over the The Drift Record, where Julie has some appreciative words for Lee along with one of his poems, and a shout-out for one of his next books! 

 

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading shares a student experience and a golden shovel poem about conquering a math problem, along with birthday wishes. 

 

Molly Hogan is out and about looking for Spring, taking gorgeous photos and documenting the outdoors in poetry.  She shares Lee's "Spring" poem, too!

 

At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi takes us back to 2009, and the poem she read when Lee received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.  Meander through her "Stanza Means Room" and enjoy a poetic house that grows sturdier with time.

 

Irene continues her ARTSPEAK series featuring Harlem Renaissance personalities, with a poem for today written specifically for Lee, "The Birthday Birds of Bonaventure Island." 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret celebrates Lee and World Make Way, with an original poem, "Coming home," inspired by her father's artwork.  It includes a line from "Early Evening" by Charles Ghigna.   

 

The ever-enchanting Jan at Bookseed Studio has a post that – well, the whole thing is just a work of poetic art.  Enjoy her singular way of telling a touch of Lee's story with love and panache. Lee makes the world "a whole lot brighter," and Jan does too. 

 

I double-dog dare you to get through Christie's post at Wondering and Wondering without smiling.  She's got Lee's "Under the Microscope" as inspiration for her response poem, "Under Our Stereoscope."  She's got kindergarteners!  Fairy shrimp!  And more!  The perfect birthday tribute.

 

At Wild Rose Reader,  Elaine has two poems about nighttime – one which made it into her new book, THINGS TO DO, and one which didn't.  Which one do you like best?  Either would be good inspiration for our current Kidlit Progressive Poem! She has birthday wishes for Lee, too.

 

Head over to Poetry for Children for three perfect quotes from Lee in Sylvia's Poetry Quote-a-thon series this month.  Hear, hear! 

 

Kay at A Journey Through the Pages lets us follow along on a poetic journey through her recent family vacation!  Your heart rate will slow to a smooth, steady beat reading her poem.  (And then will perk up again with birthday wishes for Lee.) 

 

Over in her Corner, Carol has created a poem inspired by Lee's "Storyteller (For Augusta Baker) from Jumping Off Library Shelves.    A tribute tucked into a tribute!

 

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect shares the ways her path has crossed with Lee's, in the classroom and beyond, and she offers a poem in his honor.  

 

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow offers up a deliciously dark poem today, "Dark Matter and Dark Energy " by Alicia Ostriker. Thanks for joining in!

 

Lisa at Steps and Staircases has some Spring-inspired paint chip poetry to celebrate Lee today.  What colorful fun! 

 

JoAnn Early Macken has a fun poem about "poetic license"  to share for Lee and all of us today.  She's also got a drawing every day this month for copies of her book, Write a Poem Step by Step.  Teachers, get thee hence! 

 

--Noon Whistle!  I must get myself hence to my Studio to open for the afternoon.  I'll be back later to Round up Afternoon post-ers.--

 

*...And now, Happy Hour:*

 

At Evolving English Teacher, Poetry Friday newcomer Glenda shares a terrific golden shovel using a line from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, in which she contemplates her long teaching career.  Many will relate to "I Have Seen Myself in Prufrock." Welcome and thanks for sharing, Glenda!

 

Welcome to Cheriee, too, who has also been posting poems each day this month at Library Matters.  Sometimes that can be a challenge, as she explores with a big dash of humor in "Another Poem." 

 

*And, Last Call...*

 

At Merely Day by Day, Cathy chimes in with wishes for Lee and a poem about black pants!

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Poetry Friday - H IS FOR HAIKU Visit with Amy Losak

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy first Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month!

 

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Haiku Society of America.  I'll be celebrating by teaching an introductory haiku writing class for our local OLLI program (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) in November.  But what better way to share haiku NOW with young readers and writers than with a brand new picture book to be released Tuesday, a week before International Haiku Poetry Day (April 17)?

 

If you visited Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children last Friday, you read about H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, by Sydell Rosenberg,  illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi  and published by Penny Candy Books. This book has come to be because of the dedicated efforts of Amy Losak, daughter of the late author.  

 

I'm delighted that Amy has dropped by for a cup of coffee and to tell us more about the book. Grab your own mug and enjoy!

 

Welcome, Amy!  Your mother, Sydell Rosenberg, was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968 and served as secretary in 1975.  She had poems published in many anthologies during her life. Tell us a bit about her haiku.

 

Mom's haiku are akin to what I call "word-pictures." I consider them more sketch-like, or little stories. They don't follow the "rules" of haiku today. In the classic 1974 text, The Haiku Anthology, she called her poems "city haiku." Mom was a New York teacher, so I believe she may have written much of her haiku/senryu with kids in mind. Her style changed over time too and some of her later work became more spare. She had a pretty straightforward, conversational "voice," but I think some of her work is gently lyrical, as well. And while her poems reflect her NY surroundings, they are "universal," as well.

 

How did you find a publisher for your mother's work?

 

I am grateful to poet Aubrie Cox, who first told me about Penny Candy Books, started by poets Chad Reynolds and Alexis Orgera. I then researched Penny Candy Books and was delighted with their story and the variety of books they are dedicated to producing.

 

What did you most enjoy about this process, and what was most challenging?

 

Marshalling the commitment to fulfill Syd Rosenberg's decades-old dream of a traditionally published picture book, years after her death in 1996, was a joy. It took years for me to gather the stamina, and when I finally got underway a few years ago, I felt a sense of accomplishment – and relief. The actual process of organizing and reviewing Syd's work (some of it previously published in journals), and retaining her "voice" as I made some edits I felt were necessary specifically for a children's book … this was, of course, difficult, even draining. I've never done anything like this before and I felt a deep sense of responsibility, on several levels. This has been a novel, exciting – and nerve-wracking, even sometimes painful -- process. Overall, I'm overjoyed.

 

How does haiku speak to you, as a reader and as a poet?

 

Years ago, I never imagined that I would be writing my own haiku and senryu. But clearly, Mom had an influence on me, and I hope she knows. Haiku is wondrous. Sometimes, it intimidates me. But it has opened a new world for me – a different way of being, of seeing. I'm a late beginner, and I always will be a beginner. That's OK. I continue to learn from this wonderful community.

 

Amy also adds,

 

I wish I knew more about Syd's process/approach, and her own views about haiku when she was writing and interacting with other haijin via HSA, etc. Alas, I don't. I didn't pay much attention back then. I regret this now, of course (so many questions!). But I know that the haiku community meant the world to her. It had a rich, deep, lasting impact on both her personal and literary life.

 

Thank you again for joining us today, Amy!

 

Students will enjoy the poetic images in H is for Haiku, as well as the bold, inviting art by Sawsan Chalabi.  This image definitely "caught my eye":

 

GLEAMING IN PROFILE

SPOILING ITS OWN CAMOUFLAGE –

THE IGUANA'S EYE

 

My favorite poem (today, anyway!) is this one:

 

UP AND DOWN THE BLOCK

HOMEOWNERS MATE THE COVERS

OF GUSTED TRASH CANS

 

I've enjoyed sharing the book with my third-grade-teacher-daughter Morgan, here for a couple of days on Spring Break.  I'll reluctantly part with my copy so she can share with her students and order a new one for me.

 

I did have to remind myself that these haiku were written decades ago.  You all know I am in the camp of contemporary haiku poets who avoid 5-7-5 construction because it's not an accurate "translation" of Japanese sounds into English syllables and can sometimes make for clunky poems.  I also think of haiku in present tense, and this collection includes poems written in present and in past tense.

 

H is for Haiku includes a lovely introduction and bit of context by Amy, and a beautiful short passage, "What is Haiku?" by the author. This excerpt from the latter is exquisite to me:

 

Haiku is that fledgling moment,

when the wingstrokes become sure – when the

bird has staying power in the air.

 

Book Text ©Amy Losak; Illutrations ©Sawson Chalabi

 

Congratulations to Amy and Sawsan Chalabi and Penny Candy Books. Raising my coffee cup to Sydell Rosenberg, with wishes that this collection has staying power, and also with gratitude for the vision of those who formed The Haiku Society of America those many years ago.

 

Now head on over to see another Amy, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, for today's Poetry Friday Roundup at one of my favorite places in the world, The Poem Farm.  Remember to drop in on the 2018 Kidlit Progressive Poem when you can, and check out all the Kidlit Poetry Month projects and feasts rounded up by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup.  (& Special thanks to Jama for featuring some artsyletters items on her "nine cool things on a Tuesday" post this week!)

 

Circle back HERE for next week's Poetry Friday Roundup!  (Extra note for today - my studio will be open for our town's Spring ArtWalk this eve., so I'm whirling-dervishing a bit and might not be as timely as I'd like responding to comments.  I'll get back soon and I appreciate your visiting!)

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Poetry Friday - "Wonder" - a Found Poem by a Young Poet

 

Last week I had the fun privilege of leading a found poem/mixed media workshop here in Beaufort, at Coastal Art Supply (Thanks, Jennifer!).  Among the folks around the table were three mother-daughter pairs.  How fun!

 

One of these included my friend Jill and her amazing teenager, Sierra, also a friend of mine.  I'm delighted that Sierra said I could share her work; she came up with such a lovely piece.  I gave participants a choice of two kinds of mid-century Edu-cards as their inspiration and "substrate" (surface to create on).  They could pick one about shells or one about butterflies, and then I supplied some vintage bookplates and postage stamps for cutting up and collaging, and bits of bling in the form of brass stampings. 

 

Seeing Sierra's creation here, you won't be suprised to learn she's quite creative and is a talented photographer.  What an eye! I love the way her color choices and composition make this found poem come to life, in a silvery, magical way.  

 

The words read:

 

 

           WONDER

 

grace        beauty                perfect

strange     

oriental

But, let's stop and think.  Maybe it is

a builder

for 

ideas

 

©Sierra W.

 

 

"Wonder" as "a builder for ideas" - that is just brilliant!

 

Would you like to see more? Click here for workshop highlights and more examples over at my artsyletters blog.  

 

My Authors Guild site here just migrated to new software Thursday.  I'm still figuring out, but it seems to be pretty smooth.  Migrate yourself on over to My Juicy Little Universe, where the ever-wonderful Heidi is going to help usher in Poetry Month, and this year's Progressive Poem! 

(PS - Once again, Jama is rounding up Kidlit National Poetry Month blog events over at Jama's Alphabet Soup!) 

[Fri. a.m. Note - I'm having a little challenge trying to respond to comments from my end... it's only semi-working, but I've emailed the Cavalry, so they should help me straighten out. Thanks! EVENING UPDATE - Apologies if you had trouble trying to leave comments as well.  The AG Cavalry did come to the rescue, and they got it fixed during the day Friday.]

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Poetry Friday - Look What I Found - the Poems You Left!


Hello from the sunny Southern coast!

It's Spring, you know, though I'm afraid many of you are eyeing snow that has perhaps worn out its welcome this year. So I brought you some azaleas.

Last week I made a found poem celebrating spring from an antique magazine passage about a different kind of spring. In an inspired moment, I asked if anyone else would like to give it a go - with that passage, or another one from the fashion section.

Some of you brave souls answered the call!

I'll re-post both passages here again, so you won't have to click hither and yon and back.

The first describes a "submarine spring" in CASSELL’S FAMILY MAGAZINE, Illustrated, Cassell and Company, Limited – London, Paris & Melbourne, featuring all the monthly issues from 1890. It's an article from a section called, “THE GATHERER: AN ILLUSTRATED RECORD OF INVENTION, DISCOVERY, LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE.”

It explains:

A submarine spring forms the water supply of the
inhabitants of Bahrein Island, in the Gulf of Persia.
The climate is very hot, no rain falls, and the people
draw their fresh water from the sea-bottom by
means of divers, who fill it into goatskins. Owing to
the force of the spring, the diver uses a drag weight
to keep him down, and after having filled the skin,
he slips the drag and is floated to the surface.


And look what some of you folks came up with!


Spring
floats


©Brenda Davis Harsham. All rights reserved.

Thanks, Brenda! That one makes my haiku look wordy. (Find a few more words from Brenda here).


Next up, Kay Jernigan McGriff!


water supply forms
inhabitants of hot climate
no rain falls


©Kay Jernigan McGriff

Thanks, Kay - your poem makes me worry about those folks!


Michelle Kogan came up with something entirely different:


spring Island goats
draw from fresh
rainwater.


©Michelle Kogan. All rights reserved.

Thank you, Michelle. I'm certainly happy those goats found something to drink. I love goats!


Linda Mitchell (who has a found poem post today!) and and Matt Forrest Esenwine took the fashion bait and found a poem in the feature, WHAT TO WEAR IN APRIL. First, here's the article excerpt:


The long cloak savors of spring; it opens at the
neck and trims with close feather bands, instead
of fur. It is composed of ribbed silk and embroidered
velvet, the velvet is cut as a Bolero jacket, elongated
into panel sides over which fall the long pointed
sleeves, embroidered on the outside of the arm, and
edged like the jacket with ball fringe in character
with the hat. It is a mantle that completely covers
the dress. The muff matches the hat, and I notice
women are wearing them well on to summer, partially
because they are so infinitesimal. The floral muffs
are often carried by bridesmaids; they are made of
satin and covered with flowers so that little but of
the foundation is seen. They let the odour of the
flower be easily enjoyed by the holder, and are more
to be desired than bouquets because they have a
raison d’être.


From Linda:


Feather bands
Compose a
Bolero Ball


©Linda Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Oh - I want to go to the Bolero Ball, don't you? Thank you, Linda!


And appreciations, Matt, for offering these lovely images and little story in yours:


Spring opens,
edged with character;
summer bridesmaids' flowers,
little bouquets'
raison d’être.


©Matt Forrest Esenwine. All rights reserved.


Isn't it delightful to see the variety that can be mined from the same passages? Many thanks again to these poets for playing along! I'll catch up on Poetry Friday later; today I'm leading a found poem/mixed media workshop downtown. It'll be a full room, and I can't wait to see what folks conjure up!

But you go on over and start enjoying the Roundup at Writing the World for Kids, where the amazing Laura is gathering all the goodness this week.
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Poetry Friday - Submarine Spring: Join in the Found Poem Fun!


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

While searching for a spring poem that might cheer those of you digging out of another Nor’easter, I came across something in an 1890 book I had to investigate. The book is a bound volume of CASSELL’S FAMILY MAGAZINE, Illustrated, Cassell and Company, Limited – London, Paris & Melbourne, featuring all the monthly issues from 1890. “Submarine Spring” in the contents caught my eye. Well, it wasn’t a poem – turned out it was a little article from a section called, “THE GATHERER: AN ILLUSTRATED RECORD OF INVENTION, DISCOVERY, LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE.”


It explains:

A submarine spring forms the water supply of the
inhabitants of Bahrein Island, in the Gulf of Persia.
The climate is very hot, no rain falls, and the people
draw their fresh water from the sea-bottom by
means of divers, who fill it into goatskins. Owing to
the force of the spring, the diver uses a drag weight
to keep him down, and after having filled the skin,
he slips the drag and is floated to the surface.



Hmmm. Well, no worries – you can always FIND poetry if you’re looking. Linda Mitchell tagged me on Facebook this week with a micro found poem she created after reading my monoku post last week. Plus, next Friday I’m leading my found poem/mixed media workshop here in Beaufort, so I’m getting ready for that. I couldn’t help myself…


Submarine Spring

spring forms
rain falls,
fresh from the sea-bottom
after having
floated to the surface



poem found by Robyn Hood Black


I am hoping that spring will float to the surface SOON for all you Northerners! Now, the actual visual presentation of this is on the sloppy side, as you can see, and wouldn’t make the artsyletters cut, but I hope you enjoyed.

Don't you want to have a go?

If you’d like, in your comments, leave a found poem either from that same passage OR the one below by next Monday (March 19), and I’ll assume I have your permission to share in next week’s post. You might want to do a blackout-type poem like mine here - where you are constrained by the order of the printed words on the page - OR, you might give yourself more breathing room and create a poem only from words in the passage, but in any order you choose. (These are the kinds of poems I wrote for Georgia Heard's THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK, the first time I had work in an anthology.) Any takers? (If you have any issues leaving a comment, you can email your poem through my contact page.)


Because we all need to be ready for National Poetry Month, here’s an excerpt from the Fashion Section,
WHAT TO WEAR IN APRIL. Have fun!


    The long cloak savors of spring; it opens at the
neck and trims with close feather bands, instead
of fur. It is composed of ribbed silk and embroidered
velvet, the velvet is cut as a Bolero jacket, elongated
into panel sides over which fall the long pointed
sleeves, embroidered on the outside of the arm, and
edged like the jacket with ball fringe in character
with the hat. It is a mantle that completely covers
the dress. The muff matches the hat, and I notice
women are wearing them well on to summer, partially
because they are so infinitesimal. The floral muffs
are often carried by bridesmaids; they are made of
satin and covered with flowers so that little but of
the foundation is seen. They let the odour of the
flower be easily enjoyed by the holder, and are more
to be desired than bouquets because they have a
raison d’être.


If poetry is your raison d’être, head over to Teacher Dance, where the very lovely Linda is celebrating Spring and always finding poetic magic.
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Poetry Friday - Monoku Times Two (or Three...)


Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

Recently I sent my semi-regular batch of new haiku submissions off to journals, and one of the acceptances that came back this week was for a very short monoku. What's a monoku? A one-line haiku. In English-language haiku, this approach has been around for decades. There's something about how condensed and compressed such a poem is, how crystallized, that - as long as it does its job with juxtaposition and layered possibilities of meaning, - I just love.

I'll share the mentioned poem after it's published. Modern Haiku accepted it with a nice note. I can share two others MH published in the current issue, though:



one door closes morning glories



after the hurricane leaf blowers



Modern Haiku, Vol. 49.1, Winter-Spring 2018
poems ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Looking back, one of my earliest published haiku was a monoku:



rush of wind my imperfect t'ai chi



A Hundred Gourds, March 2012
©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Several one-line haiku I've had published since then are among my favorites, if I had to pick from my own.

Most of us travel paths in children's lit, and usually I prefer a good book for young readers to a book for adults any day. Books for kids must be precise, concise. Of course, that's something I love about poetry - and, to me, the most concise kind of poetry is haiku. (Maybe the most concise type of haiku is a monoku?)

My personal preference is not for one-word poems or something that seems to be simply a clever word trick, though some of these are published with special formatting and such. I generally hold to the notion that a haiku should contain two juxtaposed images.

The one-line haiku that have come to me have always arrived all in one piece, in a singular, fleeting, but palpable moment. They've been little gifts. No haggling, no teeth-gnashing for just the right word, or tweaking and playing with lines and breaks. Just two images fully formed into a little handful of words, drifting down like the surprise of a feather.

(PS/pssst - In case you're a haiku fan stocking up on short poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day, I've got ISSA Seasons mini haiku cards for sale in my Etsy shop here. If you need a different kind of discounted amount, just give me a holler.)

Now, drift on over to Today's Little Ditty, where the ever-surprising Michelle has this week's Roundup, complete with tons of poetry teaching tips from PF regulars and guests, just in time for April. (Be sure to catch the March challenge from Nikki Grimes while you're over there, too!)
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Poetry Friday - Reading Across America - from Go Dog Go to Grad School


Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Read Across America Day!

Every year on or near March 2, the National Education Association sponsors a day to celebrate reading, marking the birthday of beloved children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), aka Dr. Seuss. Today I'm joining a few other children's authors (including my kidlilt partner-in-crime Kami Kinard) for an event sponsored by our local United Way. It's geared for pre-schoolers through third graders, and I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I hope to hear some of the college students reading Dr. Seuss books in other languages!

A favorite in our house was always The Foot Book, which begins:

Left foot left foot
Right foot right
Feet in the Morning
Feet at Night...


It's the fiftieth anniversary of The Foot Book this year!

Thoughts of Dr. Seuss this week reminded me of when our son, Seth, first learned to read. (Warning - some parental bragging ahead.) His older sister Morgan - our amazing daughter who teaches third grade in Georgia - was practically born knowing how to read and required frequent trips to libraries to quench her book thirst. Now she's passing that passion along to the next generation in a very direct way. She's a Poetry Friday Anthology practitioner in the classroom, too.

Seth came along and wanted to keep up, but he had to work a little more at the mechanics of it all.
I'll always remember the day a book "clicked" for him. It was Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman (1909-1986). Eastman wrote for Giesel's Beginner Book series at Random House, after serving under Giesel in the army in the 1940s. (Pretty sure I still have my own childhood copy of Are You My Mother?.)

A couple of decades ago, there was a commercial on the kids' TV channels for "The Phonics Game." (Maybe there still is?) Evidently Seth had paid attention to this commercial. One day when he was five, he ran up to me, clutching Go, Dog, Go!, and announced, "I can read! I don't need The Phonics Game!"

Thus began his journey with the written word. In recent years, I've had to consult a dictionary or two when reading some of his academic papers. He graduated at the tippy top of his college class last May and has been working in an urban ministry internship with homeless folks in Asheville since then. This fall, he'll enter Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.

Just last week, Seth found out he's been offered a Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship in Theology and Ministry, named for the businessman and philanthropist who headed up Coca-Cola for many years. Full tuition and fees and a nice stipend for each year of the program. (Yep, we're pretty proud.) Seth turns 23 in about three weeks - what a wonderful birthday present.

Go, Seth, Go!

(Click here for more on Read Across America Day.)

Now, grab your gondola and paddle over to Italy, where the ever-bella Renée is rounding up for us at No Water River this week.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Amy Lowell's THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY in light of Parkland, and SCHOOL PEOPLE Book Winner


Thursday morning while sipping coffee and semi-watching the news, I came across a poem by Amy Lowell in What’s O’Clock (Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1925), winner of the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

The words imprinted themselves in my mind and heart as I turned my attention to an interview with an articulate, grief-stricken father. Fred Guttenburg’s beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was shot in the back with an assault rifle in a hall in her Parkland, Florida high school on Valentine’s Day. Her spinal cord was severed, and 16 other beautiful lives were gone in an instant.

“We start each day at the cemetery,” Mr. Guttenburg said. “That’s what we do now.”

Amy Lowell’s “The Congressional Library” was not written about a school shooting. But its images spoke to me in the midst of our collective sadness and outrage – and the ability/mandate to respond lies in the halls of Congress. Here is an excerpt.


From THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY

by Amy Lowell (1874-1925)


This is America,
This vast, confused beauty,
This staring, restless speed of loveliness,
Mighty, overwhelming, crude, of all forms,
Making grandeur out of profusion,
Afraid of no incongruities,
Sublime in its audacity,
Bizarre breaker of moulds,
Laughing with strength,
Charging down on the past,
Glorious and conquering,
Destroyer, builder,
Invincible pith and marrow of the world,
An old world remaking,
Whirling into the no-world of all-coloured light.

But behind the vari-coloured hall?
The entrails, the belly,
The blood-run veins, the heart and viscera,
What of these?
Only at night do they speak,
Only at night do the voices rouse themselves and speak.
There are words in the veins of this creature,
There are still notes singing in its breast:
Silent voices, whispering what it shall speak,
Frozen music beating upon its pulses.
These are the voices of the furious dead who never die,
Furious with love and life, unquenchable,
dictating their creeds across the vapours of time.
This is the music of the Trumpeters of the Almighty
Weeping for a lost estate,
Sounding to a new birth which is to-morrow.
Hark! This hurricane of music has no end,
The speech of these voices has neither end nor beginning;
They are inter-riven as the colours of the sky
Over the graveyards of ten thousand generations. …



For notes about this poem, click here. For a copy of the entire poem, click here, and for more on Amy Lowell at poets.org, click here.

Thanks to all who came by week before last to celebrate the release of SCHOOL PEOPLE (Wordsong) and enjoy an interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins. I’m delighted to announce that the giveaway winner is…

***Catherine Flynn***

The past 10 days have reminded us that many School People are selfless servants– heroes to us, though they likely wouldn’t describe themselves, or wouldn’t have described themselves, in such terms. “Greater love has no one than this…” (John 15:13)

And I am so proud of those young people turning shock and sorrow into activism – they are amazing. Congress, quite simply, has failed them. Yet they are willing to face professional politicians with unblinking resolve and in the harshest glare of the public arena (and the sometimes-slime of social media). God bless their voices. Many will be voting this fall.

The thoughtful, talented, and active Elizabeth Steinglass has our Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Thanks, Liz.  Read More 
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Poetry Friday - Lee Bennett Hopkins and SCHOOL PEOPLE Giveaway!





Is your monitor shaking, or your phone screen, maybe? I’m so excited about this week’s post, I might be jumping up and down a little….


Lee Bennett Hopkins is here!

If you’re a Poetry Friday regular, you know that Lee Bennett Hopkins is a singular force in the world of children’s poetry, holding the Guiness World Record for number of poetry anthologies for children published.

He has received countless awards for his own writing and his collections, including the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Christopher Award, and the distinction last year of being inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame, among others. (Read more about Lee here.)

Today he shares a behind-the-scenes look at his newest anthology, SCHOOL PEOPLE, to be released Feb. 13 from Wordsong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mills Press (so you know it’s first-class).

From the publisher’s description:


…this collection of poems paired with imaginative artwork introduces readers to the important grown-ups they’ll meet at school. From the school’s own story, written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, to J. Patrick Lewis’s “Principal,” to Alma Flor Ada’s "Spanish Teacher," each poem features the women and men who inspire, encourage, and help children in their own unique ways.


The small format of photos allowed on my blog don’t do justice to the vibrant illustrations by Ellen Shi, but you can get an idea. The publisher kindly shared a couple of interior spreads – “Librarian” by Lee himself, and my own poem, “Lunch Lady.”





LIBRARIAN

He opened the door.
As we walked in
he said,
“Look!
It’s all about books.
And books are you!

Books will lead you
anywhere
everywhere –
to magical places
to meet new faces.”

He opened
one single door
yet he
led us down
pathways
we never
could ever
have traveled
before.


©Lee Bennett Hopkins. All Rights Reserved.



LUNCH LADY

Long before lunchtime
Ms. Bailey keeps busy
stacking towers of trays,
filling the salad bar,
sliding steaming pans
into place.

We swarm the cafeteria.
“Here you go, Honey,” she says,
handing each of us a full plate.

Long after lunchtime,
Ms. Bailey scrubs everything clean,
hangs the last heavy pan.

She rubs her neck,
wipes her forehead,
and changes the menu sign –
for us,
for tomorrow.


©Robyn Hood Black. All Rights Reserved.


How did this collection come to be? Lee generously agreed to share his thoughts.

--How did the idea for SCHOOL PEOPLE come about? (And how long has it been in the making?)

I began my career as a sixth-grade teacher in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 1960 at the age of 22, fresh out of college. I taught sixth grade for three years before becoming a Resource Teacher in the same school working with grades K-6.

So – after almost six decades later the idea of a SCHOOL and its PEOPLE pops up. One never knows what memory will uncover. Such an obvious topic.


--Each of your anthologies has a distinct personality – some magic you make out of many different contributing voices. How would you describe SCHOOL PEOPLE?

Yes, each anthology does have a distinct personality. When creating an anthology my mind completely focuses on the topic whether it is a collection as difficult as the recent TRAVELNG THE BLUE ROAD: POEMS OF THE SEA (Seagrass Dreams/Quarto) for Young Adults, or SCHOOL PEOPLE for younger readers. I assign topics to various poets who work with me – a wondrous group of dedicated writers. My role is to put the entire collection into focus before it reaches an editor’s desk. The process of producing an anthology can take years.

--This book should lend itself to all kinds of interactions. How do you envision teachers might use it in the classroom or media center?

There are so many ways to use this book in schools. I envision an assembly program where various school people are invited to sit on stage, introduced as each child reads or performs a poem about them…from the principal to the custodian. Or as a weekly, monthly tribute to each of the people represented.

It can also be used to show appreciation of the work each person does to make a school a whole.
I would encourage young writers to choose one or more of their favorite school people to write about.

SCHOOL PEOPLE is also a nice gift to give to various school personnel. How often does a Custodian or a Crossing Guard get acknowledged?


--How do you hope students will respond to the collection?

Hopefully children might see the diversity of people within a school building - for example, a female coach, a male librarian. Also I hope they will experience empathy for individuals – the Bus Driver with ‘that smiling face’ to bring a child home again, the Lunch Lady who works hard and long hours, the Custodian who is “caring, helpful, smart, and kind,” the Nurse who is there “like the heart in my body/like the moon in the sky.”

--The 15 poems come to life in Ellen Shi’s colorful digital illustrations. Any thoughts about how the text and art work together here?

Shi captures so many different moments via her art depicting emotions that are part of every person involved with children. That caring Principal who could ‘teach a bully/how to be humble”, the Librarian who “opened one single door/yet he/led us down/pathways/we never/could ever/have traveled before.” Each double-page spread has a lot of offer, to linger with.

--Do you have a special memory you’d like to share about a teacher or staff member from your own school days?

It was my eighth-grade teacher, Mrs. Ethel Kite McLaughlin, who saw something in the mixed-up child I was due to growing up in a dysfunctional family. She was the one who turned my life around. Being with her in a self-contained classroom environment for a year convinced me that I, too, would become a teacher…like her. And I did! Without her guidance I don’t know where life would have taken me. One teacher. One voice. As Joan Bransfield Graham writes in “Teacher” – “You stretch my world much wider…I feel I, too, can fly.” Mrs. McLaughlin did indeed stretch my world. Oh, how she helped me to fly!

--I think most would agree you absolutely SOAR. Thank you so much for joining us today!

Thank you, Robyn, for your forever poetry enthusiasm! Hugs.


Other familiar Poetry Friday faces with work in this collection include Matt Forrest Essenwine, Michele Krueger, , Irene Latham, Charles Ghigna, Renée LaTulippe, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. And other familiar POETRY faces include Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Ann Whitford Paul, J. Patrick Lewis, Joan Bransfield Graham, Alma Flor Ada, and Darren Sardelli. (So honored to share book pages with these fine poet-folk!)

But wait – there’s MORE. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press will send a copy of SCHOOL PEOPLE to a lucky reader! Just leave a comment below by Wed., Feb. 21, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. (Be sure the hidden email associated with your comment is a good way to contact you later for a snail mail address, just in case today’s your lucky day.) I’ll be out of pocket next Friday, but back to announce the randomly-selected winner on Friday, Feb. 23.

Sally Murphy has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week – hop, skip, or jump on over (under?) to beautiful Australia for more poetry surprises.
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