Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet








Hannah enjoying poetry workshop

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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby

Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

photo by Robyn Hood Black
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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Birthdays, Cont...

January 29, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, songs. ponderings

From 2009: Morgan and Mom - NY Trip! It was a "girlfriends" weekend, and we all saw WICKED for the girls' 16th Birthdays!

Quick wave from the road, on our way to the upstate of SC to visit Morgan (birthday girl last Friday) on my BDay today! We have a pretty full weekend planned, so please forgive me if I don't make too many rounds. I'll try to pop in here and there.

I leave you with a few words from one of my favorite songs from the show, "For Good."

WICKED
from "For Good" (Glinda and Elphaba)

...
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
(Glinda)
Because I knew you
(Both):
I have been changed for good
...


Well, I hope any changes on your end are for the better as well as for good. :0)

Paul has the Roundup today over at These 4 Corners.

Poetry Friday - Celebrating a Birthday, Beatrix Potter Style...

January 22, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nursery rhymes, ponderings

Top: Morgan and her supervising teacher from last year, Susan Gray, as they prepare for this school year. How special that they are now teaching on the same hall!

Bottom: Morgan's First Birthday, over-the-top Beatrix Potter. And lots of pink.

Happy Birthday to my Firstborn!

Shortly after midnight twenty-three years ago, when January 22nd became the 23rd, I became a mom. I was blessed with a healthy dose of those new mommy hormones, for no amount of exhaustion could dampen the shine on my amazement at our little bundle. I was awestruck.

In the years between then and now, there were a few more emotions, too. (Mothers of daughters? You know….) But now that I’m the proud mom of a grown-up young woman, I’m awestruck once again.

I remember being so excited to celebrate Morgan’s first birthday that I could hardly sleep the night before. Beatrix Potter theme – cake, wrapping paper, coordinating ribbons and decorations, and the obligatory pictures of cake smeared on the faces of our little one-year-old and her baby buddy, McCamy.

So I thought it would be fun to share a few verses from Beatrix Potter today, from CECILY PARSLEY'S NURSERY RHYMES For Little Peter in New Zealand (Frederick Warne & Co., Ltd., 1922).

After all, Morgan’s middle name is Cecily, and she’s been to New Zealand!

Here we are:

Cecily Parsley lived in a pen,
And brewed good ale for gentlemen.

Gentlemen came every day
Till Cecily Parsley ran away.



Hmmmm. On second thought, perhaps not the most appropriate poem for a mother to honor her daughter on her birthday? Well, for one thing, Morgan is far too busy teaching her third-graders and juggling her masters degree classes to have time to brew ale, and I don’t think her honey would like all those gentlemen callers.

Have no fear, Beatrix Potter included lots of fun verse in her little volume, and it’s worth clicking over to The Gutenberg Project to enjoy the illustrations.

You might know that our Beatrix had quite the life beyond Peter Rabbit. One of my most treasured books is
Beatrix Potter's Art: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings
by Anne Stevenson Hobbs (Warne, 1990).
Though out of print, you might find a used copy here .

Its description reads:

“As the creator of one of the world's most celebrated children's characters, Beatrix Potter has rarely been seen as a talented and versatile artist in her own right as in many ways the outstanding success of her 'little books' has overshadowed her other achievements.” The book offers an array of beautiful paintings and studies of The Lake District and also sheds light on the author’s work for conservation.

So, hearty cheers for Beatrix – and even more for our Morgan Cecily today. We are all in awe of you.

Speaking of wonderful teachers, you can keep the poetry party going by hopping over to A Teaching Life, where the terrific Tara is our host this week!

Poetry Friday: Won’t you toss me a line?

January 15, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, ponderings

photos ©Robyn Hood Black


Help! Nothing leaves me less inspired than being covered up in tax stuff. The hubby is way better at numbers, but these kinds of things don’t make it to his “urgent” list, and since I do all the household money wrangling anyway, I just scramble as best I can.

So scrambling right now I am, generating mounds of (recycled, but still…) paper spewing out of my temperamental printer, tracking down receipts from what seems like eons ago in another state but was really just last year, etc. etc. We’re both more or less self-employed, and that makes everything complicated! We DO have a great accountant, but I have to give them something to work with.
Here’s a little haiku I wrote in my journal last year:


15 April
Titanic and taxes
start with T…


©Robyn Hood Black

(I’d recently read Allan Wolf’s compelling verse novel, THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT, about that dreaded night of April 15, 1912.)

Enough of all that. Don’t you feel dusty and sluggish just having to read it? I do. So, I’m tossing out a couple of pictures that I posted on my my artsyletters blog this week. – this wonderful old typewriter sprouting pansies in the garden of a local antique shop (Bay St. Trasures), and antique buttons from another shop (Reflections Old & New).

Do either of these pictures inspire something poetic – even just a turn of phrase? When I linked the post on Facebook, our wonderful Diane Mayr
commented: “Buttons = character. Find which go with which (in your mind's eye) and write about them.” I think Button Queen Amy Ludwig Vanderwater
would like that idea! She started a “Button Project” about this time last year on The Poem Farm.

Well, if a blooming typewriter or some hundred-year-old buttons lead to a line or two or a few from you, please share below! That would be so much more fun to read than (– Sigh –) the most current calculations for mileage expense.

Thanks!!

And for lots of truly inspiring poetry, please visit the ever-dreamy Irene at Live Your Poem. She has the MLK edition of Poetry Friday today! Thank you, Irene.

Poetry Friday: Student Haiku Poet of the Month Pearl Sullivan

January 8, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, Student Poet of the Month, student work, haiku, poetry


Greetings, haiku lovers! I hope this new year continues to sparkle with new inspirations for you. There's a guaranteed shine from my blog each time I get to share a student poet and his or her work.

Today, we have a special luster to enjoy - our Student Poet of the Month is Pearl Sullivan, a former student of Tom Painting's at The Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pearl is 15 years old and a sophomore at Paideia.

She has lived in Atlanta for most of her life but she lived in Dublin, Ireland, for two years, moving there with her family when she was five and moving back at age seven.

"I like hanging out with my friends and family, reading, and playing sports," she says. "I started writing haiku in 7th grade as homework and grew to really love how every poem is simple but also has a deeper meaning."

Here are some of Pearls' wonderful poems:



my excuse
to rise from slumber
blood moon



raindrops
slide off the shingles
singing in the rain



history class
I discover
myself



an old song
on the radio
my breath quickens



new snowfall
blood red berries
among the thorns



frozen mid-laugh memories



Poems ©Pearl Sullivan. All rights reserved.


Many thanks to Pearl for sharing her thoughtful poetry with us today. Which ones especially strike you? [I'm a sucker for the punch of a great one-line haiku (sometimes called a monoku), and the final poem here I find very effective!]

For more posts in this series featuring talented students, please click here.

To continue our journey in a new year of wonderful poetry, please make your way to The Opposite of Indifference, where the ever-shiny Tabatha hosts our Roundup today.

Poetry Friday - a Haiku for the New Year

January 1, 2015

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, haiku, ponderings, birds, awards

Yay Images
Happy New Year!

I hope you and yours have enjoyed a lovely holiday, and you are ready to leap head-first into a new year filled with poetry. Like my crazy hubby and son leaped into the chilly Atlantic today as part of the "Pelican Plunge" at Hunting Island....

Last year, I was still in the foothills of north Georgia, where I'd penned the following haiku:


new year
the twitter of a hundred robins
in the oak



Modern Haiku, Volume 45.1, Winter/​Spring 2014

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


I haven't seen those huge flocks of robins here in my new yard near the coast, but there is plenty of wonderful bird life. And it's very nice to greet the new year from the same nest this year, rather than two different locations on the map!

Please make a migratory stop here next week, as we'll celebrate our January Student Haiku Poet of the Month. Such a treat for me to feature the work of these fine young poets.

Rounding up our first Poetry Friday for2015 is the wonderful Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Be sure to also check out her post featuring the Cybils finalists for poetry - the rounds have included books by some of our own amazing Poetry Friday community. Congratulations to all the nominees! [If you're a PF regular, you'll recognize the talented judges' names, too.] The incomparable Syliva Vardell has featured the shortlist at Poetry for Children, and there you can also find all of the 36 nominated poetry titles for 2014. I'll take one of each, please.

Poetry Friday - Found Poem for Friends Old and New

December 18, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, found poetry, poems, ponderings

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.
Greetings, Poetry Friday-ers!

I hope your holiday season is full of rich time with family and friends and a few too many calories. Thoughts and prayers for those going through difficult times in this ramped-up season.

My post today is simple. Here's an image I used on our personal Christmas postcard this year, a found poem I highlighted from LITTLE FOLKS - A Magazine for the Very Young, London, Paris & New York, Cassell & Company, LTD. (Bound collection from the late 1800s.)

It reads:

To My Readers

Once more, friends, looking back over
the past year, I
fancy each one of you, and express my hopes
that you
understand more and more fully
something of
old friends and
new ones too.


[Those are old typewriter and watch parts adding bling to the text, by the way. Might be hard to see in this picture, but one is providing a cradling branch for the illustrated bird.]

To say it's been a year of moves and transitions for our family this year is putting it mildly. But each one of us (hubby, me, recent-graduate-new-teacher daughter and recent-transfer-to-a-new-college son) has made new friends in new places, while appreciating even more our special friends who share our history.

This poem is my wish for online friends, too! Thank you for so much inspiration, fun, comfort and challenge. I look forward to a new year of poetry after the holidays. We'll be on the road next Friday, so I'll see you back here in the new year.

Safe travels and blessings to you and yours!

Lighting up Poetry Friday for us this week (it's almost the Solstice, you know!) is friend and talented writer Buffy over at Buffy's Blog.

Poetry Friday: Student Haiku Poet of the Month Carson Race

December 11, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, Student Poet of the Month, haiku, student work, poetry


Happy Holidays, Poetry Folks!

Today I invite you to take a wee break from the hustle and bustle, and have a long sip of short-form poetry with our Student Haiku Poet of the Month. I’m delighted to share the work of Paideia student Carson Race.

Carson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1999. The middle of three children, he has an older brother and a younger sister. He started at The Paideia School in the third grade and has attended there ever since. His interests include soccer, football, and mock trial. He’s been writing haiku for three years since his 7th grade year.

“Why haiku?” for Carson? He writes:

Haiku is a poetic form than can be written anywhere and about anything. This is the main reason I like it. I enjoy haiku because it doesn't require much effort to get one started, but to end up with a good haiku, you need to put something into it.

(I say Amen to that.) Please enjoy some of Carson’s fine poetry:



winter morning
a bird
picking at its bath



road trip
fog rolls
over the mountains



summer lake
a crawfish
clouds the water



so full of leaves
so full of air
the tree



new moon
darkness
overcomes me



late winter day
the first cineraria
slowly rises



Poems ©Carson Race. All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Carson for sharing his poems with us today. Which ones most resonate with you today?

For more posts in this series featuring talented students, please click here.

And for more rejuvenating poetry in this hectic season, please visit our host Paul at These4 Corners.

[If you have any time after making the rounds, I’m delighted I'll be a featured guest today on the Nerdy Chicks Rule blog – with huge thanks to Kami Kinard!]

Poetry Friday: Keats's "In drear nighted December"

December 4, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poets, ponderings

Keats portrait by William James Neatby

Greetings, Poetry Peeps!

Can you believe it's December already? In hunting up a December-ish poem to share, I came across Keats. If I studied this one in college, I'm afraid I don't remember. Do you?


In drear nighted December

by John Keats, 1795 - 1821


In drear nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity—
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.

Ah! would ‘twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy—
But were there ever any
Writh’d not of passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.


Click here for the Academy of American Poets and a bit more on the English Romantic Keats.

Well - a bit depressing I guess. The natural world has forgotten how happy it was in warmer months of the year, but we remember and feel loss? The poem has such a modern sensibility to me - "The feel of not to feel it" - I wouldn't guess that line to be almost a couple of centuries old. (It was composed in 1817 and first published in 1829.)

I hope your week has not been dreary! And if anyone tried found poem projects with kids or students, I'd love to hear about them. :0)

Next week will NOT be dreary here... We'll have our Student Haiku Poet of the Month, so circle on back between your holiday errands.

For the Poetry Friday Roundup today, hop on the nearest flying sleigh and make your way to Booktalking #kidlit where Anastasia is hosting! Thanks, Anastasia.

[NOTE: I'll be flapping around all day Friday getting ready for "Night on the Town"- businesses stay open late downtown to ring in the holidays, and I'll open my studio. I might be scarce until later in the weekend! :0) ]

Poetry Friday: Micro Found Poetry for the Holidays... Kid-Friendly Project!

November 27, 2014

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, micro found poetry, holidays, students, found poems

©Robyn Hood Black

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

One of the top items on my "Thankful" list is our Poetry Friday community - old hats, new faces, the spontaneous community of what must the world's most wonderful folks. Thank you for your friendship and your ever-inspiring posts.

My post today is about wee things. Just when I think I can't downsize any more....

Here I was this week in my studio, trying to concoct a few Christmas ornaments to make available in my Etsy shop this weekend. I've searched high and low for any kind of ornament frames similar to the great ones I found last year for the miniature version of my "Writer Mouse" print. But, alas, no luck.

So I've been experimenting with some smaller vintage ones that I found online. I hand-cropped my wee literary mousie and put it in the front of some gold-tone tiny frame ornaments I snatched up. These are only about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inch. The back had its own clear plastic covering for an image as well. What to do?

Eureka! I've also been playing around with my beloved old books this week, planning mixed media/found poem/collage pieces now that I'm on the mend. Why not conjure up wee little holiday found poems from these very old texts to share? A tiny piece of history to hang on the tree! [My first children's poems published in a book were in Georgia Heard's THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK (Roaring Brook), and I've been addicted ever since. Kids love creating found poems, too - more on that in a sec.]

Here are the highlighted texts, in case they are difficult to read in the pictures:

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

      merry making
telling of stories

carries us back


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

reindeer
     travel upwards


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

practice
under the mistletoe


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



[From LITTLE FOLKS - A Magazine for the Very Young, London, Paris & New York, Cassell & Company, LTD., bound collections from 1877 and 1884.]

Not really sure you'd call these poetry, maybe micro found poems? (If that's a thing, I couldn't find it online, though you can read plenty about "found poems" and "micropoetry.")

Now, Teachers - and Parents about to have kids home over the next break - students seem less intimidated about "writing poetry" if they have something in front of them as inspiration instead of a blank page. I kid you not, I've even seen "cool" eighth grade boys eager to come to the front of the room and share a found poem they created together during a workshop. [That is a beautiful thing!]

Maybe you could try an ornament activity like this as a fun little project? Students would not need to cut up 100-year-old books, of course. They could start with a die-cut blank cardstock circle, or cut their own "base" in a shape they like, and punch a hole in the top for a piece of ribbon. Are there any kid-friendly magazines or other text goldmines in the recycling pile? All the poet-artists need now are some scissors, glue, and imagination! One option for them (or you) is to simply cut out some words from within the text and glue these onto their cardstock base.

If you'd like to try the "highlighted" effect I show above, the top of a sticky note (the sticky part) is your best friend. (I borrowed this technique from the terrific Seth Apter.) Just cut a text-high strip to cover the words you want featured. Paint over the rest of the text (a light "wash" - acrylic or watercolor paint thinned with water - works great, to let some of the other words peek through just a bit). Before the paint is completely dry, gently lift away the sticky note strip(s). Tweezers might help here.

When the found-poem ornament is dry, a coat of acrylic gloss will give it a sheen and add some protection. That's not necessary, though, if supplies are limited or you've got very young artist/poets!

***All you talented teachers, poets, artists, parents - please add your two cents' in the comments if you've got thoughts to share on this project!***

For poetry of all shapes and sizes, and a thoughtful post from our host today, please visit Carol's Corner.


Thankful for Open Doors... and a Perfect Thanksgiving Poem

November 20, 2014

Tags: poetry, Poetry Friday, ponderings, seasons

©Robyn Hood Black

This Thanksgiving will be a little different – the first time we haven’t spent the actual day of with our kids. Alas, hubby Jeff has to work Wednesday and Friday, and we’re a bit too far now to come and go to his folks’ home in one day. (Our kids, both in that foothills-neck-of-the-woods, will partake of the big meal and happy crowd chaos and re-charge their cousin batteries.)

I pondered making a quick turn-around trip to be part of all that, but my neuromuscular massage therapist said NO to driving that distance solo just yet. We’re adaptable – Morgan and Seth will come here for the weekend, and we’ll have Thanksgiving again – vegetarian-style – on Saturday.

This year, each one of us has dug up roots in one location and started a new life in another. Jeff got a head start by moving here to the coast before the end of last year. Then I made a zillion trips in the spring bringing over animals and furniture and way too many boxes. Morgan graduated from Furman, moved to a lovely little rental house in the area with friends, and started teaching third grade (and taking grad classes!) Seth completed a strong freshman year at Belmont, but traded in his Nashville city slicker pass to hang his hammock in the mountains of North Georgia at Young Harris College. (Perfect fit.)

Jeff and I have been getting used to the fit of our Empty Nester jackets. We joined a terrific church and have received kind welcomes from neighbors and new friends. We’ve taken lots of walks, downtown and on the trail over the marsh, and even taken in a play or two. And, okay, sometimes we spend evenings watching TV, at least when The Voice is on. (Morgan’s fault.)

When we were first looking into Beaufort, I hunted SCBWI members and found Kami Kinard , author of THE BOY PROJECT and THE BOY PROBLEM from Scholastic (books I wish I’d had for Morgan back in the day!) I stalked contacted Kami right off, and she was not only a wealth of helpful info, she’s become a good friend. Thursday evening, she hosted a get-together to introduce me to other writers in the area. Though self-conscious about those dynamics, I'm honored and thrilled to meet more members of the tribe. [One mutual writer friend I met soon after moving here – she’s a neighbor! Confirmation that we’d settled in the right spot.]

I’d love to say everything is orderly and flowing smoothly, but I’m still wrangling with storage challenges and realistic work schedules and such. Yet mostly I’m grateful – for long-time friendships unaffected by years and miles, and by new friendships we’ve been graced with. And for my online friends – some I’ve met in person and others I hope to.

In DAYS TO CELEBRATE, the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins shares an anonymous poem for Thanksgiving. (The anthology is one of many collaborations with illustrator Stephen Alcorn; I recommend buying all of them!)

The words are simple yet full of truth and warmth.

Thanksgiving

Anonymous

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway –
Thanksgiving comes again!


Posted here with permission - many thanks to LBH!

May your doorway be open to those you hold most dear. And wishing you comfort and peace if you are facing an empty chair at the table this year.

For a heaping feast of delicious poetry, please visit fellow South Carolinian Becky at Tapestry of Words for today’s Roundup!

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Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
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